The Unspeakable

It was early in the afternoon.
We closed the bedroom door
and did what we said we’d do.

My wife asked me to tell her
about what happened to me
when I was a child.

I have seldom spoken about
the unspeakable, undoable,
unthinkable, unbelievable.

All true. We walked through
the secret places of my
childhood sexual abuse.

When I was eight years old,
I lost a lifetime but I didn’t
learn about it until I was fifty.

You listened and loved me with
each word I spoke. You love me
for all that we will share and do.

What I know, all that I hoped for,
longed to do, and deeply desired
would never be the same as we

take a new road together that
rose out of the fire and ashes
of the unspeakable.

Spider Song

a spider cast its web from
the tree like a net floating
on the air

it stuck to the fence
some on the pole and
some on the shed

a single strand seemed to
rappel silently from the
fence to the ground

the two sisters bonded
through singing inside
unaware that the spider

was climbing back up to
fence singing of triumph
a familiar spider song

Ancient History

I put the suitcase I borrowed from
my mother in the trunk and got in
the car.

My father drove and smoked. And
smoked some more. He is usually
lecturing nonstop by now. I cracked

the window open to get some air
then closed it again. His visible
nervousness made me even more

nervous. He started talking. After
each cigarette, he’d open the window
just enough to flick it outside then

close the window without interrupting
his monologue. He never wanted to
hear anything I had to say, so I

listened to his World War II Army
stories again about his basic training
in Burlington. No post there now.

Ancient history.

I think he was trying to give me advice.
He pulled up to the front of the AFEES
building in Newark. As I got the small

vinyl suitcase out of the trunk he asked
me to please write. We sort of hugged.
I started up the steps as he drove off.

Seems like just the other day. That trip
to Newark ended with a late-night bus
ride to Ft. Dix for basic training.

It was fifty-five years ago yesterday that
I enlisted in the Army. Thank you, my God,
for your protection and care. You are my

refuge and strength. You alone are God.
The rest is ancient history.