Narrated by Michael Gaspenny
Slouched for a nap in my reading chair,
thinning arms spread on thick oak arms,
I saw you striking a similar pose in the photo
topping the TV cabinet, front legs splayed
on the tan-carpeted porch where, gray-muzzled,
you took the breeze and eyed the street,
sometimes stirring to bark, but mostly lounging
at our feet, too stiff to leap to your old perch
on the wicker couch. My third son, three years gone,
your paws, my hands still reaching for the spark
of your rough pads scuffing my palms.
BIO: Michael Gaspeny’s novella in verse, The Tyranny of Questions, narrated by a tormented suburban mother in the 1960s, was published in April by Unicorn Press. His previous works are the chapbooks Re-Write Men and Vocation. He has won the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition and the O. Henry Short Story Contest. In his 17th year of hospice service, he has received The (North Carolina) Governor’s Award for Volunteer Excellence.