“Old Men” by Ken Hada

I make it a point now
to wave to old men I pass
old men standing in shade
of a yard, maybe
a daughter’s place
where now he’s just a tenant
trying to understand role reversal.

I raise my forefinger
As I steer country roads or pass
Through tired neighborhoods.
Most return a wave or nod Howdy.
Driving gives you some perspective,
shows you how you might end up.

We allow something
now, especially those of us sitting
on porch swings, those
who never got around to going
somewhere, those
who still feel like something
somehow is missing.

“Old Men” by Ken Hada from Spare Parts. © Mongrel Empire Press, 2010.

“That Evening” by Ken Hada

that evening

after the service
after the casket

was lowered into red dirt
dirt which he had plowed
and planted

I sat with her
in the house

a house that would never be
the same, the house of grandkids
and trophies from prize quilts
and blue-ribbon jams from
county fairs

and she spoke some
and I spoke some

I was not yet eighteen
He was sixty five

so my thoughts
too few memories

the shotgun he bought for me
at auction, catching a big bass
on his cane pole, sitting on his lap
at sunrise, hearing growls about
harvest and calves, hay, tractors
and fences

now it would all change
we both knew that

as we sat holding our differing
grief, it would all change

some for the better
but not all

sundown and death — too obvious
to construct — that first night
was hard, but she was hard too

and she teaches me
to live on

for thirty more years (and counting)
that evening still alive in me —
a lesson in grief

believe it, bear it
bury it

“That Evening” by Ken Hada, from Spare Parts. © Mongrel Empire Press, 2010.