January 2014

 
APPARITION

By
Ann Grenier
First Place Winner: Poetry
 
 

I thought I saw him standing in that gable window,
far away from where I waited in the car
years later, behind the chain link fence,
avoiding stores when I could; hiding, I suppose.
I began sinking in the quicksand of old pain,
the sucking torment of trying to reach him then,
pluck him from the clutch of rum,
from the claws of addiction.

His gaze crossed over Sunnyside Farms,
a parking lot and railroad tracks;
fell on Times Square Café,
where neon flashed the lie
it had to tell him - promising escape
from his regret of wrong way choices,
endless whispering voices, judgments met,
consequence: like that hot third floor tenement.

Prayers and years of nightmares,
fears of where and when the worst would come
still tangle in my thoughts - like tendrils
of the vine that winds in the fence I peer through;
chain-link reality strung with barbed wire
like the phone that might have rung
at any hour. I held my breath, prepared

to hear the words that scarred the flesh
of night, the final words: your son …
the words - the haunting words…