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Sunset

on August 18, 2011 in Kiko V. No Comments »

Sunset

by KIKO V.

“You need to release
the pressure in the hose
when you’re done watering!”

I gently scold my mother
using the same tone of voice
she had often used with me
decades earlier

back when I was the child
and she was the parent.

But she just stares at me with a blank face.

Over the years
she and my father
tried to keep their minds sharp
by watching all the evening quiz shows
shouting out answers to oblivious hosts
from their matching La-Z-Boy recliners.

They also picked at crossword puzzles
while they ate their TV dinners
and gulped down fistfuls of vitamins
and memory pills.

But now they don’t know many answers
and the only sound emanating from them
is the high-pitched hum
of their hearing aids
which they cannot hear.

Their colorful store of
vitamins and food supplements
has been replaced by
rows of dark amber vials
and white latex gloves.

And their coffee-stained books
full of games and puzzles
now sit in dusty piles
beside stacks of old calendars
and crumbling photo albums.

* * *

The late afternoon sun
peaks out from between the boughs
of a drooping willow tree
and the last glittery rays of daylight
reflect off my mother’s
newly permed copper hair
which lay in burnished waves
across her wrinkled forehead.

“I think I’ll just stay out in the garden
a little while longer”
she says, in a tired voice.
“The flowers all look so beautiful
at this time of the day.”

In The News Today

by KIKO V.

I awoke this morning to the
tail end of a newscast on my radio:
A deep, resonant voice informed me
that the death toll in Syria had climbed to
seven hundred and fifty, and that the stock market
was down forty-five points.

The low-pitched voice did not pause between
or after the two statements to allow me to
fully assimilate their contents;
nor did it vary in its tonal inflection
to indicate that one event was any more
significant than the other.

The announcer simply ticked off the news highlights,
as if they were items on the neatly folded shopping list
his wife had tucked into his shirt pocket
before he headed off to work this morning:

Two loaves of whole wheat bread,
one gallon of low-fat milk,
seven hundred and fifty government protesters
shot dead by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad,
three tomatoes,
a can of mushroom soup,
seven hundred and fifty men, women, and children
sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of freedom and democracy,
two cloves of garlic,
a dozen large eggs,
seven hundred and fifty courageous Syrians,
who will never again see the white desert sun
rise above the ancient ruins of Palmyra,
nor taste the salty Mediterranean air
on their desert-dry lips.

On the way to work, I passed by an old church
with a sun-faded marquee sticking out
from a bed of shoulder-high weeds.

The rickety sign proclaimed in large block letters:
“JESUS DIED FOR YOUR SINS”

And beneath that it read:
“Due to the poor economy,
Friday night Bingo has been canceled.”

Nature Preserve

by KIKO V.

As I enter the small,
fenced-in nature preserve,
a burst of gunfire from a nearby shooting range
pierces the calm morning air.

Strolling along a marshy bank,
I spy a pair of mallard ducks,
quietly preening their downy feathers
and bobbing their heads in the gray, silty water.

Above, a clay pigeon explodes,
scattering its bloodless remains
over the tiny wetland refuge.

High up in a knotty oak tree,
a bushy tailed squirrel gnaws at a shiny acorn,
and a red-bellied woodpecker
taps out a steady beat.

High above them, a twin-engine Cessna
rumbles out from between the clouds,
accompanied by a chorus of squealing tires
and thumping car stereos
from the traffic below.

The park naturalist explains
that the animals have all grown
accustomed to the noise.

I tell him, “That is absurd!”
But my words are shot down
in a hail of buckshot.

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