Poetry Porch: Poetry


Doubt & Denial in Vero Beach
by Paula Bonnell

In the rich ripe Florida
of my parents’ retirement,
everything rots.
Stuffs they dig in
under the flowers
yield. Nothing keeps.
Mold creeps on the sides
of their suitcases,
hides in the few winter clothes
in the dark
at the back of their closets.

In October when they come back
from summering north,
I skip the parts in their letters
that tell of the moisture, the punk
that spawned in their absence.
Like covering my eyes in the movies.
Worse — what’s going is ours.

When we were little,
Dad wouldn’t tell his age:
Older than Methuselah
and younger than springtime
, he’d say.
We knew about Mom:
born the year the Titanic sank.
Now in fast-motion
Florida decays and flowers around them.

Florida — Easter —
I learned from the nuns
that death means
But I no longer believe.
I don’t want my
parents to die!

I visit
and the garlic on the side porch
goes everywhere with us,
one of the family,
not just at meals.
Mom moves it to the laundry house;
washes clothes with its blessing.
I don’t believe
it will keep evil from us.

The sounding board of the piano
is beginning to warp.
Memories slide out of tune.
I dream of it everywhere
blooming out of the garbage disposal,
fulsome, carbuncled,
digesting our keepsakes,
covering up the letters in our letters.

Copyright © 2019 by Paula Bonnell.