castle keep by mike wilson

Two Poems by Mike Wilson

Castle Keep
I never saw it coming.
It doesn’t have a face,
is known through absence
of chunks and parts,
small paving stones of ordinary
gone missing.
Empty boxcars uncoupled
still rolling with momentum
from a life lived, carrying him
through days, a click
clack along an old track,
a train without a schedule.
At first preoccupied, then reoccupied
by patterns he no longer owns,
fragments of stories, twisted
paragraphs clutched, the abridged
version of his life, shorthand
dictated, no longer transcribed.
Alone in gray that could turn black,
becoming the prey of his own mind,
the timbre of words
not tempered by love
uttered with prompts, delivered to
an audience of tissues and tears.
I buried him, broken,
and shuffled along, waiting
until they made me sell the house
and settled me in assisted living
with meals, a bed, and no meaning,
but everyone is kind.
The Golden Years
She calls the nurse,
pressing the button nobody hears.
She calls family,
they let it go to voicemail,
waiting to see if she will die.
She doesn’t…
She calls to God,
presents her argument,
makes her plea,
waits for the judge’s gavel
to strike the bench with a ruling.
They stick her in a home.
Night fears
make conjugal visits.
She calls the aide
but can’t remember why,
can’t remember the girl’s name,
but pretends she does.
The girl leaves
when she thinks she’s done.
It must be nice.
The same with visitors –
muscle memory
of social interaction
kicking in the tune
but not the words.
All these strangers
who are like fishing bobs
bobbing up, bobbing down,
looking at their watches.
Mike Wilson’s work has appeared in magazines including Cagibi Literary Journal, Stoneboat, The Aurorean, and The Ocotillo Review, and in Mike’s book, “Arranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic,” (Rabbit House Press, 2020), political poetry for a post-truth world. Mike resides in Central Kentucky.