Monday, July 10, 2017

Finesse by Robert Demaree

In the Club Room at Golden Pines
Hour upon hour of duplicate bridge,
Earnest, watchful: grossly underbid.
I know they think it’s useful
And hope they find it fun.
I do not do that,
Or crossword puzzles, or Sudoku,
And would not attempt
Counting backwards from one hundred
By sevens.
I count instead on
Shuffling through my old postcards,
Thousands of them,
Expecting a memory to be jarred loose,
The occasion of a purchase,
A scene brought back from
Some corner of our life.

The inn at Nags Head, from our wedding trip,
Prince Edward Island fifty years later,
The piney woods of north Louisiana,
Years I have chosen to count as good ones
Though there is reason not to.

Those other towns where our girls
Have made lives for themselves,
The band concerts and soccer games
Of our children’s children.

Paid too much for this one
At an antique mall in Iowa.
Got this one on the way to his brother’s wedding;
She died so young.

And here are little-known canyons in Utah,
The French Quarter, the Chateau Frontenac,
The leafy town on the Ohio River
From which my dad, a grocer’s son,
Set out in 1925.

This one is our pond in New Hampshire.
My father loved bridge,
Could make a bid of three no-trump
When he could do little else.
I can tell you the exact moment
He began to slip:
At his desk, a clear morning
In September of ’83,
Looking out at the woods,
Unable to balance his checkbook,
Forty degrees on the porch.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in June 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club, and have appeared in over 150 periodicals. A retired educator, he resides in Wolfeboro, N.H. and Burlington, N.C.

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