David Francis

The School

So much suffering, seems like yesterday…
the school, unchanged, a new year, a new class
across the dried expanse of bayou grass
seeming to me faded to a green-gray;
desiccated, thin, cramped, dwarfed is the way
it smacks sad me in the car as we pass;
the stables are closed and the landmark mass
of carport complex not allowed to stay.

Thus the scene. But recently Richard called
and said Danny had fatally hit his head
and not long after Tommy had gone, too…
these brothers who once had ruled and appalled
the school and me had from this known world fled
which Richard also was shortly to do.


Packages Left Behind in Haste Long Ago

I was sitting and looking at your things,
your classroom stuff, memos and syllabi;
a tinge of regret that I didn’t try
harder to appreciate — that took wings
but I crashed it…useless meanderings…
there is no point when we don’t want to fly
in going over land arid and dry
and so shoved them back in their old bindings

to the box, closeted, addressed in vain,
stripes of masking tape belying their doom
and yes, handling them gives no little pain
(some younger version of us shared this room)
and then I became aware of the rain:
I knelt and peered into the shrunken gloom.



I came upon a small-town monument
with a modest marble cross three men high
and poppies in a garden of cement.
Midmorning under an overcast sky
near the coast. A freak of a windy day,
for summer. To all those in World War II
who left here and failed to return. Away
blew my hat shunting down the avenue
laughingly witnessed by mother and son.
I recently heard a relative’s tale
of a rightful great-grandfather, unknown,
who vanished one day and left a cold trail.

My mother gasped. But old and young must learn:
we are all missing and fail to return.