by Ed Ahern
THE FEAR IS IN THE QUESTION
Some fear is belly-rotting:
Will I be arrested?
Am I being fired?
Some fear is nerve-searing:
Is she alive?
Is she leaving me?
Some dwarf fear is blood-pounding:
Will I always be ugly?
Where will I find the money?
But the fear that is mind-roaring,
The worst fear, is not:
Am I dying?
What have I become?
There is a secret god I worship
The abomination of light and air.
She is the manna of known gods
Of lust and war and greed.
I genuflect before her
Tithing my hate and envy.
My adoration of her scarred face
Puckers me wizened and sour.
And I would flee her temple
Of acrid incense and unholy water
But do not know where to seek
The god who lives in her absence.
Over the years
Several women drew close,
Differing in marvelous ways.
But all, early on or later in the time together,
Were pushed away or saw enough to leave.
Remembered in swirls of abiding fondness.
Piquant almosts sprinkled on a bland existence.
The rules change at night
When coyotes prowl the gardens
And walled-in huddlers cringe
At shattered panes of glass.
No one steps into darkness
To answer dying animal cries
Or the screams of the stranded.
The rules change at night.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He has his original wife, but advises that after forty eight years they are both out of warranty. He’s had ninety stories and poems published so far, and two books.
One of the stories was at NEW POP LIT. Read “Aftertaste” here.
Ed’s website is http://www.swampgasworks.com