“Off the Pond” and “Stardust”

Edward Schultz, founding president of Driftless Writing Center
  • Edward Schultz, founding president of Driftless Writing Center

Off the Pond

  • Sunset off the pond, uncountable sparks;
  • Faces. Blood-fall color of oak shimmering
  • On the path — rough, cheeks of grandfather arch
  • Along the trail to the pier’s end. Standing
  • Out over the glistening mouth listening;
  • The unbearable moan from the particles
  • Of his world; specters meeting, colliding
  • In that creation, mixing his heart
  • With the art of air and water, dirt and fire —
  • These things wish to cure; these things wish to spell
  • Those things that cling to the cave walls in the mind.
  • His life, a contemplation of regret —
  • In hand round and round swung the battle-axe
  • Into the uninterrupted circle of his tracks.

Star Dust

  • He grabs a line and ties a lure;
  • a rocking agitation rolls his shoulders,
  • a low moan and mumble toward impatience.
  • His daughter, watching, not noticing her hands
  • finishing the invisible knot.
  • He reaches for the spoon to ladle a bite of soup,
  • mouth opens in shaky anticipation,
  • a hunger growls he cannot explain.
  • His wife strains to understand,
  • unconscious of her slow, quiet, swallowing.
  • He picks up the meter gauge,
  • poised with true diligence;
  • this shall be his hardest task.
  • His grandson remembering his favorite tune,
  • hums beneath the ohmmm of florescent light.
  • He strums the air in quiet delight,
  • the twang of strings fills his ears
  • with the soft syncopations of love.
  • His youngest son sings a song
  • Of angels taking flight.
  • He is ready to leave;
  • legs striding through a sheet of restraint,
  • walking a path unto stardust.
  • His eldest at the door
  • one hand waving, the other unable to let go.
  • He opens his eyes,
  • the final spark overrides the morphine drip;
  • his smile fastens to their faces.
  • Closing his eyes,
  • he imagines them all again... and again... and again...

Edward Schultz is founding president of the Driftless Writing Center, Viroqua, WI, and current board member of Council for Wisconsin Writers. His writing has appeared in dozens of literary journals and anthologies: the Atlanta Review, Chronogram, Rosebud, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Willow Review. He has received a Contributing Editor’s Pushcart Nomination for his poetry.

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