Poetry by Veronica Michalowski: "Givers" and "Keith"


Copyright, Veronica Michalowski

November 7, 2016

Written about her father, Peter Paul Michalowski

July 24, 1917 – November 26, 2000

Photo taken in the yard of his mother’s home,

Oxford, New Jersey, c.1942, age 25

GIVERS

New Jersey mountain so huge

it’s named Montana.

He knows it well—

with his brothers,

spends his youth here

exploring, playing.

Hemlock, oak, dogwood,

birch, what’s left of chestnut.

Drinks from natural springs

hikes endless trails

of this feral cathedral.

Mindful of hunting seasons

when fauna are vulnerable,

Montana equips him for work

in the CCC camps,

a lifetime of skills.

He is at home here;

mountain gives

he learns

entrusts lessons

to his children.

Today, no birds sing

deer are still

wild turkey mute

as wet tread

on the wheels of the hearse

slowly rides the familiar road,

it gathers DNA—soil, seeds,

spores, end-of-autumn leaves—

to place at his gravesite.

KEITH

you left us today

soared to another

dimension

free to be you

to explore

heavens, universes

touch the face

of God

to fly

visit those you know

who left a while ago

we may not meet

for some time—

we will be here

on our own sunbeam

this little blue dot of Earth

the only home

we’ve ever known—

thinking of you

the love you gave

to your wife, children

family, friends

we miss you

stay close