What You Missed While Napping in the Car by J.R. Solonche

1.
You missed your father cursing under his breath
     the driver of a brand new Cadillac, the color of pewter,
     its topaz headlights squinting in the sunlight,
     for squandering, for ostentation, for vanity.

2.
You missed a gull and a plane flying in such attitude
     and altitude and at such distance so that the gull
     was superimposed on the plane, perfectly, wing
     upon wing, tail upon tail, fuselage upon fuselage,
     partners, for a moment, in synchronized flight.

3.
You missed clouds passing overhead that resembled
     nothing at all, not even clouds.

4.
You missed your father cursing under his breath
     the wearer of a mink coat, the color of pewter,
     her topaz sunglasses squinting in the sunlight,
     for squandering, for ostentation, for vanity.

5.
You missed a dog carrying a branch in its jaws.

6.
You missed two crows in the top of a pine tree
     holding a conversation, that went something like this:
     Caw cawwwwww, caw cawwwwwww.
     Caw caw caw cawwwwwww, caw caw caw cawwwwww.
     Caw cawwwwww, caw cawwwwwww.
     Caw caw caw cawwwwwww, caw caw caw cawwwwww.
     After a few minutes they flew away, and I could see
     one had feathers missing from a wing, so maybe
     that was what they were talking about, how the one lost
     the feathers, but I didn’t hear that part to tell you.

7.
You missed a middle-aged woman, overweight
     and made up heavily, trying to look younger
     by wearing tight fitting jeans. She only made herself
     look like a foolish middle-aged woman, overweight
     and made up heavily. But I want you to remember her
     the next time you want to try to make yourself
     look older, which probably will be tomorrow.

8.
You missed the sun as a bank of gray clouds passed
     in front of it. It looked like the full moon, that instead
     of rising in the sky, sank lower. Then, in a gap in
     the clouds, it came to incandescent life, the way
     an ember, when you blow on it through the grate
     in the door of the woodstove, flares to flame, so bright.

 

——

Professor Emeritus of English at SUNY Orange, J.R. Solonche has been publishing poems in magazines and anthologies (more than 400) since the early 70s. He is author of Beautiful Day (Deerbrook Editions), Won’t Be Long (Deerbrook Editions), Heart’s Content (chapbook from Five Oaks Press), Invisible (nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by Five Oaks Press), The Black Birch (Kelsay Books), I, Emily Dickinson & Other Found Poems (Deerbrook Editions), In Short Order (Kelsay Books), Tomorrow, Today & Yesterday (Deerbrook Editions), and coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books). He lives in the Hudson Valley.