A Long-Waiting Wednesday; Optimism

by | Apr 7, 2020 | Issue Fourteen, Poetry

A Long-Waiting Wednesday

I sat in the car, in the back edge

of the strip-mall parking lot,

with the radio turned off,

so the battery wouldn’t run down,

leaving me stuck in the car-roof cave-sounding rain

even longer than the hour-and-a-half

I’d already been waiting there.  

The tingling heat of single-thought anticipation

mixing with the growing chill

of a world of disappointment

fogged the windshield thicker

than I could continually smear down

with the back of my hand

as the wipers switched intermittently off and on.   

Each time I wiped, after they wiped,

I gave in more and more to surrendering

to the actuality of admitting

she wasn’t going to come. 

In the hand-smeared streaky clearness there was no

familiar hood approaching my car…never an umbrella

appearing at my side window.  Nothing.

Nothing at all.  Just me waiting alone,

wiping down the windshield

and each window that I could reach,

over and over again.

Optimism

He was big and slow-seeming and had no looks

that you imagine women would comment about;

yet I bet he could catch a squirrel.

We’d had him over several times to community parties

and holiday meals during the past few years,

and I never heard him say much, just chuckle a lot. 

I’d heard him and my wife laughing

in the kitchen a few times before

noticeably ahead of us all sitting down

at the table with bowed-heads for grace being said. 

My wife and I have a calico cat

and a small mixed-breed terrier dog, both rescued,

that we let come inside after meals

and for the nights.

Now, a week after Thanksgiving,

I’m here fixing sourdough French toast and coffee

by myself for myself for breakfast

while now and then hearing the whining

of the young dog that wants to play

and the intermittent hisses of the cat that doesn’t.

I’ve scorched a lot of French toast and let

a lot of coffee get cold over the past few weeks

just by going to the door to look outside to see

if the whining is for welcoming her back

and if the hisses are the result

of her picking the cat up for a hug.

None.  Neither.  So far, never.

Not just yet.

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