Things I Miss From Back In The Day

I miss the sound of the dial tone

and the urgent beeping of a phone, telling you

it was left off the hook

I miss the light ‘ting’ a phone will make when the receiver is placed

too hard back into its cradle. 

I miss the way I could surprise a laugh out of her

even when she was depressed

earning a grudging respect that  felt better than love, 

felt like steel, cold and hard yes but reliable. 

I miss being young with you 

when I couldn’t imagine that getting older would happen for me

I was confident at an early age I would go sooner

not later. It was a confidence that confused people who 

were with me a lot but still knew me only a little

through no fault of their own. 

I miss driving the long two lane road in Houston, 

when you were out of town

the dog in the passenger seat, curled,

the heater blowing on him

fingers of wind in my hair.

May the wind take your troubles away, 

sang a voice from my radio 

with the accents of my childhood — 

a voice of difficult beauty, 

a voice that is the hoarse echo

of the sound a steel guitar makes. 

I miss driving the country roads

those long licks of concrete

connecting the cornfields

squeezing over to one side, slowly

and saluting the farmers on their combines

with a single finger lifted from the wheel

or a two finger touch to the brim of your cap

real or imaginary.

I miss pulling the car over 

the way we did sometimes

laying back on the hood to look 

at great big billowing clouds 

the corn orderly marching in reassuring rows

but the clouds were chaos – 

the clouds were magic the clouds were predictors

of how it was going to be,

one day.

7 responses to “Things I Miss From Back In The Day

      • Melbourne Australia. We are just coming out of a 3 month stay at home order. Spring is in the air and soon I can go back to writing in cafes. Small pleasures come into sharp focus when they are taken away.

        • “Small pleasures in sharp focus” is a really nice framing of the quarantine blues. Not too long ago you had those terrible fires, now it’s our turn – California, Oregon and Colorado are burning – October is the dangerous month. Enjoy your cafe indeed.

          • As soon as Spring comes our minds turn to fire season. We have lived through some nasty ones. Hoping this season will be a mild one. Hoping your fires we go out soon. A bunch of our firefighters are fighting your fires — as yours flew out here to help with ours. Be safe.

  1. This just sings. I find myself back in the day all the time these days. Especially on those midwestern roads.

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