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December 13, 2022

My Elders at Slow Waltz

Into the room, the wide open door 

was west-facing through 

window glare  

like sun colored cotton—   

it sent me. 


I left to go find a plate 

a brush an easel and linseed oil  

intent to spread it out in  

picture daubs, I could paint  

all this. 


It had faded by the time I  

could gather back, the glow had 

dulled like ragged gray clouds and 

me having missed the very point 

of seeing. 


Down near the pond 

a stone rolled away just then 

while hinting dawn the sunset  

tensed, flexed, formed into faces  

where all shadows begin. 


Fronds and evenings recalled 

projected like movies on woods  

where the fields end, films 

black and white and fifty years ago  

telling me the world  

will never be new again.  


It could’ve been a landscape 

speaking under high ceilings 

sometimes framed in blue-like sky 

and witness to what went on 

without disclosing.  


It could’ve been a pixel  

one of millions that portray  

the day, round in our hands 

that gave me the clue 

only just.  


But tonight my elders at slow waltz  

circle these rooms like rings 

of Saturn. They testify the wheel 

of us. Too far from where we can 

ever see. Too close to  

ever know.


© the author

by L. Ward Abel

L. Ward Abel’s work has appeared in hundreds of journals (Rattle, Versal, The Reader, Worcester Review, Riverbed Review, Beir Bua, others), including a recent nomination for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and he is the author of three full collections and ten chapbooks of poetry, including his latest collection, The Width of Here (Silver Bow, 2021). He is a reformed lawyer, he writes and plays music, and he teaches literature. Abel resides in rural Georgia. 

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