Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bird Watching by Ben Rasnic

My friends
from adolescence
have never aged
in my mind.

I imagine them still
at Cumberland Bowl Park,
swimming or cycling,
soaking in the sun-rays
of perfect cerulean sky
summer days;

some reeling in walleyes
camped beneath Hurricane Bridge;
others grinding out grueling
2 a day workouts
in sweat saturated
helmet & pads
for a chance to star
under Friday Night lights.

Some of them have passed
beyond this dimension,
yet still they remain young
in my mind as well, vibrant &
entertaining & my heart breaks
for their absence.

I am retired now, existing
on Social Security & Disability,
passing a miserably hot summer day
on the back deck canopy swing,
sipping a light beer
against doctor’s orders.

At rest, my entire body
is tinged with pain;
in motion, that pain becomes electric,
shocking my bones
into almost total submission,
a condition I have learned to live with.

I have already outlived
professional medical
& common sense expectations
& although I have become forgetful & sometimes draw blanks in mid-speech,
in many ways I still feel young
in my mind.

I used to look at people
like me
& think ‘there but for the grace
of God go I’
& now here I am

lost in thought,
on my back deck canopy swing
in sweltering summer heat,

A baby thrush lands
at my feet, tilts
it’s tiny head,
eyeing me curiously
as if it knew me, perhaps
in a previous life,

takes a few clumsy steps
with shaky pipe stem legs,
hesitating, then peers up at me
as if it had something
of importance
to say,

skitters nervously,
unsure of its surroundings
& then with a coarse chirp
of seeming remorse,
shrugs its shoulders,
twitches its tiny wings,


Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. Author of four published collections (three available from, Ben's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

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