The look on your face was priceless
when asked to open your coat:
“no drugs on this old lady!”.
The guard laughed as he did
a less-than thorough pat-down
before waving us both in to go
find our seats. You were only familiar
with Rod’s later catalogue, the songs
from your youth he milked into
universal success - memories
dredged up that captured better
moments from a life you kept
well hidden. You clapped politely
after each song, not sure of the exact
concert protocol – right up until
the Faces and solo years.
You endured Hot Legs, much like
you now endure the days that melt
into one another, no distinction in sight.
If I blasted those songs right now,
it would make no difference –
there would be no look of recognition,
no sing-along that brings a smile
to my face or yours - just a pale stare
out the window, a mind lost in years
that remain on the charts, even in
the absence of a sure-fire hit.
Johnny and June bridged the gap some –
until I tried to up the ante with a bit
of Nirvana, which was a no-sell –
still, it was nice to have even a tiny square
of common ground over forced conversations
at mandatory Sunday meals and holidays.
I made you that mix-tape - it stayed
in the deck right until we sold the van
to help pay for her care. I remember
every song, in order – and while you
never gave Nirvana a chance, we both
agreed that early Cash was the best;
time has a way of pointing out the obvious.
You’re as gone now as Johnny and June –
she’ still with us – content – no idea
what song is playing, in any order –
silent as the last note fades into the hiss
of a worn out cassette.
Cathy Porter’s poetry has appeared in Plainsongs, Homestead Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, California Quarterly, and various other journals. She has two chapbooks available from Finishing Line Press: Dust And Angels and A Life In The Day. Her poem Clocked In was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Omaha, NE and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org