Near-Dead Reckoning


If I had children

To rear (that used to be the proper

Word), I’ve little doubt

I’d treasure some time apart, now

And then

There’s a story of the mother of my



She was going to walk

Around the hundred-acre wood

Her son asked to go

And she said no

But when I return

Welcome me

As if I had been gone far

Away for a long time


Nowadays what guilt the mom or dad

Must feel to know

That children are taken from their

Parents with no returning



The parents now are criminals, they’ll say

Trying to enter by

Liberty’s calling


The children are caged, too


Everyone is guilty, by the way

Not one of us gets off

Unless we’re trying


God will accept a prayer

To bring entire families

Along with sanity

To what has been happening


My father’s people were

Here to tie

Up the ships of all the rest

My mother’s people, there’s a problem

Only a few generations here

So I’ll

Have to take my chances


Warming up to say

That without family

Without the value placed

Up on the shelf in pride of place


That what have we of home

A nation of all promises

Is dust collecting

In an empty place


I don’t have all the answers

I don’t know all the rest

But I think impracticality also

Becomes illicit

When we break the bond

That promises compound reckoning

The nuclei destroyed

Hostility left to orbit like

Errant electrons



And sing-songy

Yes, I know


But there it is, I’ll ‘fess up,

And if you’ve come this far

We can go farther


C L Couch (/jpg)