Jogger Found

Rita Anderson

                          I.          Epilogue

Just two weeks ago, you saw

your Mother on the end

of your bed: It is a sign,

you whispered and, now,

You are gone.


We find out in the morning

paper, a headline which read,

“Dead Jogger Found.”



                            II.           The Past

Let us start with the end

     —your heart attack at dawn,

     a trail in the park your damp canvas—

and row back to an ignoble Tennessee birth.


Then, linger where the bulb swings shadows

against exposed rafters at the orphanage,

your narrative’s attic, another cold beginning.


Abandoned and up for adoption.

This oldest memory like the horizon:

The picture never changes. (How

does one not focus on what is missing?)


Mother is in the earth

like a wild onion succumbed

to a ruthless frost, which leaves

the widower more inconvenienced

than bereaved and so he buries

himself in work until he replaces her.


--Were your father’s last words

dramatic, engine idling in apology

to the Sister in charge whose black

habit swept sensible shoes?


He saw himself as the victim,

deserted by a frail spouse

who was thoughtless enough

not to take the children with her.



                            III.       Your Future

Reinvented, the patriarch

—your grinning father—

returns; his new wife,

a gloved handshake. Then,

reunited, winters pass.


Traveling quicker, now,

to a future where you stand

(and eventually fall)

next to your own sons,

a successful businessman

and father: Why, then,

did your spirit never escape

that children’s home?


No matter how big

the subsequent houses,

you slept hearing the wind,

your history slithering up

through the floorboards,

memories like that stark light-

bulb which hung your childhood.


Abandonment, a tireless pendulum

marking time, so achievement fails

to bring rest. Nothing is enough

to regain peace for such souls.

Rita Anderson has an MFA Poetry & an MA Playwriting. She was Poetry Editor of Ellipsis (University of New Orleans), and her books of poetry: The Entropy of Rocketman (Finishing Line Press) and Watched Pots (A Lovesong to Motherhood), have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Rita won the Houston Poetry Festival, the  Gerreighty Prize, the Robert F. Gibbons Poetry Award, the Cheyney Award, and an award from the Academy of American Poets. Her work has appeared in 100 literary            publications including Spoon River Poetry Review, Waves: A Confluence of Voices (AROHO Anthology), EVENT Magazine (British Columbia), Blue Heron Review, Old Northwest Review, Cahoodaloodaling, The Stonecoast Review, The Blueshift Journal, Persona (50th Anniversary Edition), The Stardust Gazette, and Explorations (University of Alaska Press).                   Contact Rita at her website

Sharon Lask Munson
Smiles Behind Your Mask / Little White Lies

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