When Angels Came To Zimmer

One morning a great gaggle slid Down through holes in clouds, Twirling like maple seeds Through trees to the windowscreen. Fervent as new tussock moths, They flapped and dashed themselves, Smearing their heavenly dust, Until Zimmer, in pity and alarm, Opened to let them into his study. They flew in with smiles and sighs, Making him bashful, as if a dozen Gorgeous chorus girls had suddenly Pranced into the room.

They perched on Bookshelves, cigar stubs and beer cans; One even tried to sit on Zimmer's lap. All day they danced the Lindy, And some, not knowing better, dabbled Their darling toes in the toilet bowl. They sang chorus after chorus of "Stardust" and "Moonlight In Vermont," Constantly touching and stroking Zimmer. Then at day's end, as if someone Had rung a bell, they stood to sing A final chorus of "Deep Purple." With a whoosh of air and expensive perfume, They fluttered from the room and ascended. Zimmer stepped out to watch them rise And flapped his dirty hankie at the stars.

FOR ROLAND, PRESUMED TAKEN

By the time we missed you dusk was settling in.

The first reaction was to think of drowning, the deep hole just north of the house that the spring flows into out from under the sycamore.

You had played there earlier in the day and had wanted to wade the still water after minnows schooling the shadows.

We tracked you back to the spring, and I died with fear that you would be floating among the lilies, white as the ghost of fish. But your tracks veered left toward the valley where the cattle grazed, then vanished in the flowing grass. I blew the horn that called the cattle in. You knew the sound and loved the way the cattle came loping up at feeding time.

Roland, still, today, you cannot hear the sound of the horn, cannot holler back up the mountainside to let us know in your wee voice you are safe and found.

Why you walked off into the green of that day we can never know, except the valley and the mountain beyond must have yielded a sudden sound or flash of light that took your eyes away.

And you were gone. It is as if eagles swooped you up, leaving not one trace to tell us the way you went away.

Nights I imagine the beat of drums, the clanging of toy swords, rocking horses neighing on their tracks.

In another age

I would offer up my glove to God to have you back.

Now, we have packed away your life in boxes we store in case the memory we hold is swept away by chance or the slow years.

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