In the cellar
you and I your older brother
construct another project
the trains of childhood
replaced with a model race car track
built by us from wood and foil
in the picture you and I
heads bowed in concentration
don’t seem to feel the need to talk
but as we planned
the roadway slope
and the spacing of the track
we must have talked
and though I never was a dreamer
we must have talked of dreams
are black and white
like shadows like my memories
and I have spent a lifetime
for fragments of your voice
©2015 Frank Kearns
My Father’s House
The house of my memory
is a semi-rural farm house
with musty smells of
old wall paper and indoor plants.
sitting at the dining room table
in pajamas and bathrobe
cigarettes and coffee
AM talk radio
at the agonies of the traffic report.
The house of my dream
is a different house
on a narrow fishing-town street
before great grandmother’s knick-knacks became
a part of frozen memory.
You are a boy
entering the magic door
winding up the attic staircase
the wood a lighter brown with hints of red
the steps twisting and so narrow.
The photograph is yellowed.
You are so delicate in your uniform
your China Burma India Theater patch
jumping out from small shoulders.
Your eyes are feeling something,
seeing something beyond you and me.
In the attic
rubber band model planes
delicate balsa stringers
with tissue paper skin
light as the still air.
And a homemade short wave radio set.
You hear the news
open that high peak window
and shout to the neighborhood
Pearl Harbor has been attacked!
The close sun of Los Angeles
is hard on ghosts
you won’t find them as you might
lurking deep in redwood forests
or soaring on the wind
in the high sky of Mojave
In the light we tell our stories
cheerfully with bits of lunch
at noisy restaurant tables
standing in chance market meetings
or bravely in fluorescent
The ghosts prefer to hide and wait for dark
to float down moon-lit river channels
tiptoe among the black palm tree silhouettes
echo back the words they hear
in corners of dim living rooms
collect the things that we have hidden deep
and then explode us from our deepest sleep
© 2015 Frank Kearns