Our Song

Thirty years co-opted
by twenty-five-to-life.
Youth had long-since deserted us
when we stepped, hand-in-hand,
over so many points of no return.
Two time zones apart, I think of you,
alone in the house of bygone days,
past tin and china anniversaries,
past the quarter-century, past pearl.
Here, all the milestones are cinder block.

Now, as we come to the ruby horizon,
I have trouble imagining that red dawn.
All my nights are absence:
Absence of sleep.
Absence of me.
Absence of you.

I slip my headphones on.
The little light of my mp3 player
guides me only to memories.

Do you remember how our little girl loved Lamb Chop?
She’s not a little girl anymore.
She lives even farther away from me than you do,
but she’ll always be our Ruby Tuesday,
our Sweet Caroline,
our Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,
our Peggy Sue.

We bought her the toys,
the lunchbox, the nightlight,
tickets to a performance with Shari Lewis.
I liked the lamb imagery, even then,
though I was not saved yet.

O, Christ, you take away the sins of the world.
My crimes were terrible, but the worst has been
how the two of you have had
to shoulder this burden with me.

Voices knock against these walls.
Rage is a fist. Rage is a billy club.
Rage is a slock. A lock in a sock,
like some demented line
out of Dr. Seuss.

Tight within the serpent’s grasp, I lay,
clutching my mp3 player
like a shield, or a prayer book.

Whenever I hear this rough chorus,
it’s to you I turn for deliverance,
O Lord,
O Song That Doesn’t End.

Lauren Scharhag is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry. She is the author of Under Julia, The Ice Dragon, The Winter Prince, West Side Girl & Other Poems, and the co-author of The Order of the Four Sons series. Her poems and short stories have appeared in over eighty journals and anthologies, including Into the Void, The American Journal of Poetry, Gambling the Aisle and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She lives in Kansas City, MO. To learn more about her work, visit: www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com Read other articles by Lauren.