I Cried Today at Staples

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They asked me what kind of file folders

I would like. I eyed that wall,

boxes of files stacked like bricks

propping up crumbling dreams,

and I couldn’t stop them,

hot tears welling up unbidden,

indecision and nostalgia and sorrow

in liquid form. And I knew

it wasn’t the file folders –

not really. It was more

that after the check-out counter,

after smiling and making small-talk

with a smiling employee about

the weather and the Riders game,

after fighting traffic

and stopping for an iced frappé

on the way, I would carry the bags

and drop them off

with my son

at their new home,

leave them deposited there,

file folders marked ‘Memories’,

‘Fears’, ‘Regrets’; even the expanding

style can’t hold ‘Dreams I’ve Dreamed

for my Son Since He Was Born’,

or ‘Have I Given Him Enough

to Make Him a Man?’ So I stood

in aisle 4 and let the tears drip

until the labels swam, inked

puddles to be filed later.

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Evening Embers

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Evening embers, stirred

slow and deliberate

as the fire burns low,

afterglow of warmth

.

Talk turns contemplative,

each staring into

coals of yesterday, where

memories dance in flickers

.

Carefully turning

marshmallow clouds

so they don’t

go up in flames