Selected by Alexis Rhone Fancher, Poetry Editor

Jerry Garcia: Three Poems

Trumpets in the Sky

Through scattered clouds, pink and thin,
silver jets spark yearnings for adventure.
Powerlines scratch black strokes on cobalt.
The full glide of a Cooper’s Hawk
casts gray shadows
before talons hook wire.

A bluff-side turns orange with twilight.
Lovers’ hands silhouette in promise,
as the last remaining sunrays mute.
Distant aircraft reflect the blaze
of further western time zones.
Late for home, sparrows bullet toward shelter.

Incandescent fragments open across the valley.
Neon signs glow on street travelers
riding roadsters.

Outlines of passion grow opaque
against evening firmament.
Diamond stars dress
the blue-black curtain
that introduces
the obvious
moon.

*

Human Touch

Headlights followed me
like a jet squadron in formation,
four lanes, eight lights
blurring from my exhaustion,
eyes reverting from rearview

to red glowing dots ahead,
when darkness came down
like a curtain drawn.
No lampposts, no cars,
no reflections.
Completely opaque,
like Sister Margaret Mary’s story
about the world’s end.

I became weightless,
a sprite in ocean air.
My vehicle no longer carried me.
I became awash in crashing waves.

The sea was black with white caps.
Was it moonlight or a patrolman’s flashlight?
I might have been floating.
I might have been flying.
You found me in a hospital
“after days,” you said.

I might have been in outer space
attempting inventory of countless stars
or maybe, they were specks of sand
at the bottom of the briny deep.

You didn’t have a clue where I had gone,
but fed the dog and tended to the roses
while waiting.

You could be holding my hand right now.
Or I might be attached to a comet
hurtling through the galaxy,
long before the earth held water
or human touch came to be.

*

Dog Years

We don’t talk much.
Japhy doesn’t leave my side
except to be with my wife.
When she is in the bedroom
and I am in the den, he stretches
like a rug across the hallway.
A secret service agent watching
its charges, eyeing our every move.

Japhy, named for a Jack Kerouac
character, will someday be gone.

Waking me at 3:00 in the morning,
forgetting that he needs to pee, that
old man of a canine stands in the kitchen,
stares at the floor tile, his mind apparently lost.

I hold the door open, sniff for skunk.
Like an old jalopy, he restarts,
moving slowly over the threshold.

Coyotes jump fences when it is worthwhile.
Now I have become Japhy’s guard.

When he returns, I offer the puppy treat he expects.
Once a ploy to suggest using the backyard as his potty,
15 years later, it has become our old couple’s ritual.

Named for a Jack Kerouac character,
Japhy the dog will someday be gone.

*

Photo credit: Ajay Jhaveri

*

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