A little lady, who looks
as crumpled as the few
tattered bills in the old wallet
a pint of gin,
three gossip papers.
Nearsighted, she squints at the receipt,
fumbles, scattering bits of torn paper coupons,
then hands the cashier the bills;
Probably first-of-the-month money.
She’s looked forward to this evening.
There was a week of macaroni and beans
to make the budget stretch.
This is her celebration.
The Social Security check has come!
Tonight, alone with her gin
and cheap gossip
she’ll try to join a world
that has forgotten her.
Sermons in Stones
A monumental marble god
an altar adorned with gold
a cathedral that took one hundred years
to realize are magnificent,
but awesome as they are
the found art, treasures
of a summer day long past
is more wonderful.
We walk, wade a stream
bend to choose stones
whose subtle blues and greens
echo the deep sky, lush grass yearning
toward the distant mountains.
A stone, bright as a poppy
shouts red on the sandy bottom,
glows through water clear as glass,
a bold display among the gray and brown.
The stones, edges worn smooth
tumbled in the turbulent stream,
entice our fingers.
Thumbs rub their gentle curves.
I wonder that these ancient stones,
long torn from a mountain’s side
their beauty bred in turmoil,
now quiescent in my palm,
can soothe a restless mind,
celebrate a lovely day.
Phyllis Van Buskirk