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Poems By Edward Garcia About Time “I’m a little worried about time.” Her eyes study his face, deciding If he is being profound or teasing. Something seems to spill out of his dark brown eyes. “Not all the time, but more and more.” He smiles, but it is the eyes she reads. “Not enough time to do everything. I don’t know if I can do everything.” He smiles again, embarrassed to be feeling So acutely what everyone knows, everyone feels. She gathers him to her, his five-years younger wife, He leans into her. Allows himself to be soothed. Once his five-year son came to him in the night: “Does my life have to end in death?” He was a young father then and he gathered the boy Into his arms, into bed, smiling as he said, “That won’t happen for a long time, son.” That was a long time ago. Leavings There was a cricket in my daughter’s tub. I saw him two days running, Creeping rather, wands twitching lightly. What can there be to live on In a white porcelain tub? Perhaps something left of her nourishes him. He scuttles to another spot: another morsel? He seems content with her meager leavings, Sustained for how many days till she return. I go around the house finding a sock, Or a long blonde hair by the sink, Scraps of scrawled paper, the odd barrette, Scuttling a bit myself, Sustained by her thin residue. Poem for Katy Once again they have come to the movies. When she got tired, she sat in his lap And only once had to go to the bathroom. Now in the cold night among public shadows, He shortens his steps And she walks beside huddled in her coat. “Will you take me to the movies when I’m an old man?” Smiling, a nod yes. A few steps along the dimly lit concrete, college path Solemn now: “It will be a sad day when you die, Eddie.” She runs ahead, stops and, reaching in her mouth, Pulls out a week’s ration of gum. She studies it only a moment and flings it into a bush: “Goodby, gum.” Walking beside him again, she takes his hand, “I wish no one had to die.” A few more silent, slow steps then “I’ll race you to the car On your mark, get set,” she begins to run. A dozen wild strides of slender legs Sticking out of a red corduroy coat, She calls back, “Go!” And faster and faster runs, recedes From the suddenly heavy-legged man Who can never catch her now. Driving The wildness of the caged world hums by me, I tunnel into the winds of the world. 0, I have too little noticed what was On the other side of glass: green islands Hills covered with cheesecloth, grass sprouting through. I listen for significance in here. I hear small creaks, faint rattles, highway sounds, Whines and wheezes, misses, tiny carquakes: The significance of that wheeze, that whine .. . Is all that I can listen for in here. There was a time when, as a boy, I joined The surf jumping over waves, against waves, Wild to feel them, cuffed and hugged by them Like some rough father would. I loved the roughness. Slammed by the slick green arch of a wave Breaking right here on me, breathless from the jolt Of being in just the right place, I’d turn To brag of it, but someone would yell out, “Here comes a good one” and we would all turn To hope it would hit us just right again. I was too wild \(in those moments only, My inland days suffered no such To contemplate the ocean in the surf, To listen for significance in all That jumble of groans and rumble of waves. When my ears were better, and better placed, I did not think to listen or to think. But there’s no need to mourn my heedlessness Or trouble the young boy in his wildness. Enough to note the common, melancholy Gripping of the middle-aged heart In fleeting contemplation of the old uncaged world. Edward Garcia is an instructor in English and Journalism at Cedar Valley College in Dallas. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23