Fall Back

I waited for the argot of the grieving.

Most of the initial talk carried on in

tones of condolence—sincere attempts

to ease the sting after the thief’s slap.

Yet most of it kicks against the pricks.


But last night my widowed mother stood

in the shadow of her father-stolen son,

the two of us hesitant to spring clocks

forward for our deepest wish is to fall back.

The little things’ll make me miss him most.


She gingerly unfolded an ad she’d torn

from the Sunday paper revealing a leather

vest—the kind Wayne wore, cut for a big man.

She thought to order it for him, a surprise.

We didn’t see time changing so quickly.




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  1. Sallie on March 14, 2021 at 8:15 am

    Oh John…..?

  2. John on March 14, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Beautiful …
    And terrible

  3. Cherry Odelberg on March 14, 2021 at 9:00 am

    Words fail, yet you have used them well.

  4. Monica Sharman on March 14, 2021 at 9:15 am

    I really appreciate this one, John.

  5. Phyllis Ann Rustin on March 14, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Oh, how poignant!

  6. judy tindle burke on March 14, 2021 at 10:06 am

    I would so like to take a tenth of the pain away for all of you and also tell you it will get better. The 12 th this month will be 16 years and the sting is almost as strong as then – so try to keep one foot in front of the other and kick the rock in the road til you get to heaven and praise God for all the memories that will come . God Bless and keep Mrs. Anna close.

  7. Marcia on March 14, 2021 at 10:36 am

    “Yet most of it kicks against the pricks.” Poignant. May you and mom be comforted.

  8. Brian Gienapp on March 14, 2021 at 10:55 am

    My heart’s breaking for you, brother.

  9. Lynda Smith on March 14, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Kick that rock! Keep kicking rocks.
    When my family tells me they love me, I reply with, ‘I love you more’. Rest assured, David loved you guys more. He was so proud of his family, it showed in every Christmas letter, every email, every text. I can’t tell you ‘time’ will ease your pain, it won’t, you just learn to live with it, but I hope it helps to know a lot of us are heartbroken and holding you tight as you grieve.
    Love you! Lynda

  10. Duncan Hilton on March 14, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Stunning, John.

  11. Margaret on March 14, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Damn. That sums it up.

  12. Gretchen on March 14, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    No words. Thank you for yours. Prayers.

  13. Helen Williams on March 14, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    Grief has it’s own time table, you can’t do anything about it. Blessings

  14. Angela Holden Garrett on March 14, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Yes, the little things! It hurts terribly and it will hit you often. Hug your mama.

  15. Cathy S Norman on March 15, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Prayers. So many prayers.

  16. museoverso on March 16, 2021 at 1:24 am


  17. Barbara H Romfo on March 16, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Love this one! Thank you! My prayers are with you!

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