Last Leaf

I raked until I
couldn’t rake

Most of the
debris was in
a curbside pile.

A nice wind cut
through the
humidity to

refresh me but
I was done and
couldn’t take

another sip of
water. Even in
this high heat

my eyeballs
were floating.
Have you ever

heard or seen a
pine cone fall?
Didn’t think so!

There is always
another pine
cone and there

is no such thing
as the last leaf.

The Kitchen Garden

This was the place where plants peered
out of the windows, where rubber spatulas
and assorted utensils sprouted out of a variety
of glass jars. They filled your windowsill.

It was there where our love grew like a flower
waiting for the gentle caress of the morning sun.
One day, the sun came up, and the sill was bare.

Our friendship was a respite in the midst of the
storm. Your storm ceased. You decided to go
back to the northwest you held so dear.

My storm continued east, but finally came to an
end. I wonder about you after all these years.
I even catch myself saying your name when the
warmth of the sun fills my kitchen garden.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”

Laura Revisited II

Hurricane Laura hit us about one in
the morning. The noise and the heat
awakened me. The power was out.

It sounded like there were two big
powerful locomotives moving at top
speed. One flying past the front of

the house and one in the backyard.
The two large elms and giant oak
in the front cast elastic shadows.

I sort of slept from three to six or
so. A cold water clean up. No shave.
No electric but the stove is gas. I used

a lighter and boiled water for coffee.
I went to the top cupboard and took
down my old Bodum French press.

It was fine for the two of us. We moved
into the TV room where I opened two
windows and the side door to get some

air. Hot air is better than no air. A light
breeze crisscrossed the room. The rain
stopped. By dusk the wind started to

die down. We talked back and forth all
afternoon. I cooked as the light faded
from the windows. We ate by lantern.

Back in the TV room, she shrieked.
Her fan came on. Power was back on.
God is good. The gift of another day.

Laura Revisited

Laura. Bracing for storms coming our
way. The first one sort of fizzled out;
second one did not. Waiting for Laura.

I’ve been singing that schmaltzy ballad
from the 1944 movie of the same name
since last night. Whatever happened to

my mother’s copy of Vanity Fair, I’ll
never know. I remember the picture of
Gene Tierney in it and Gary Cooper in

1934. It was a favorite book of mine as
a kid. Laura was a favorite, too. Still is.
One of the few good memories. But

this poem can only end or begin with
one word. Laura. “Laura is the face in
the misty light…”

A Candle of Faith

I can’t be having the thoughts I’m having.
The thoughts of past abuse never go
completely away. I understand that.

Those thoughts spawn other thoughts.
And before I know it, I’m back in a place
I don’t want to be.

Pain and pleasure converge once again
and I’m in touch with the confusion of
the eight-year-old that was me.

It is Satan’s fuel fanning the fires of past
abuse freezing my thoughts for today.
Fiery arrows aimed at the heart to destroy

whatever is true. The breath of an angel is
all it takes to quench this Hell fire and
bring me back into God’s grace and truth.

Light and darkness can never occupy the
same space. All it takes is a candle of faith
to dispel the darkness.