Poetry Drawer: Three Poems by Robert Demaree

Salad Bar

Yesterday I ate ten dollars’ worth of salad.
Here is how it happened:
My wife was at her book club
And, recalling those
Teacher appreciation lunches
They used to throw for us,
Stylish young parents in
Black Cadillac SUVs—
Exotic salads, all manner of
Rice and pasta, marinated vegetables,
Olives, oregano, oil and vinegar—
I betook myself to an affluent market
Near our upscale shopping mall,
Passing the hot bar, pizza and sushi,
And started filling my biodegradable box
With commingled delicacy.
Next to me were three men about 50,
Business casual,
Speaking a European language
I did not recognize:
Strange place for a power lunch.
I thought to myself:
There’s a metaphor here someplace;
If you wait, it will emerge.

They charge by the pound.
Embarrassed by my excess,
I took some home.
Julie was coming over
With her young, two kids
With different stories.
I shared with her kale greens
In a balsamic vinaigrette.

Cairns: Rye, New Hampshire July 2015

Places are prompts
So I always bring paper and pen
To Odiorne Point.

From a distance
The cairns look like people.
Up close, some are:
Children, rock upon rock,
Add to the gallery,
Silhouettes, mist rising,
Burned off the promontory.
Some are engineered, like pyramids.
On this one a little girl, maybe four,
Places a third rock atop a second:
It is enough,
Trail markers not needed, a holy site.

Moments past low tide,
Shimmering bands of water inch landward.
I walk back across the gravel beach
To where my grandsons look for crabs.
Another family approaches. Someone says,
“Oh, I do hope the tide comes in.”
It has every day
So far.

In The Days Following Hurricane Katrina: August 2005

We sit before cable TV
In sick, entranced numbness;
Cathode ray exudes an unspeakable pain.
A chapter in our lives
Washed over by waters toxic with despair:
We hid from a storm there once,
A third of a lifetime ago.
Now, with anger and revulsion,
Love and hope,
We grieve for the losses of friends,
For the place where our children were young.

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 Bob’s poems here on Ink Pantry.

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