Poetry Drawer: Cabin Fever: For Jeremy at Fifteen: Closing up the Cottage by Robert Demaree

Cabin Fever

Ten inches of wet
Heart-attack snow
Sits in the driveway.
When we first came to Golden Pines
My shovel was a shield
Of pride and pleasure, unwilling
To give in to the years,
Eager to break out of restive days.

But Golden Pines does not want
The 80-year-old guys shoveling snow,
So, on this third day,
I lounge in pajamas at noon,
Working from my easy chair
On paper tasks of little consequence,
Saved up for such a time.

The snowplow has cleared the driveway now
And we can get to the store,
Past sooted, graying mounds that will remind me
Of Pennsylvania.
Later this afternoon I may try to
Widen the path a bit.

For Jeremy at Fifteen

The life of a friend, a teammate,
Suddenly, inexplicably:
You honoured him by playing hard,
By standing for him
In the chancel,
All of you, your uniforms
Still damp from trying,
As if you did not already know
Of the fragileness of life.

Closing up the Cottage

1) September 2020
Our daughter came back up
To help close the cottage.
We sat down and watched her
Wash the refrigerator.

82-year-old bones ache
From cleaning, packing, lifting,
Awaiting the subtle vibrations
Of two days on the road.

We stood one cold morning
By the side of
The Third Connecticut Lake
Wondering which would be
The penultimate trip north.

Back at Golden Pines
We are trying this morning
To remember where and how
We store things for the winter,
The TV, the toaster,
Computer, coffee maker.

2) September 1986
My dad’s last summer on the pond
I flew up Labor Day
To help close up, drive them home.
The airport bus
Only came as far as Dover.
Somehow they managed to get there,
Him wandering around the restaurant, 
My mother with the
Caregiver’s exhausted sadness.
The restaurant is still there,
Different name, different owners:
I pass by that place
And still feel 
An unbidden welling up,
How one thing comes
To stand for another.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

You can find more of Robert’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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