Constellations

A Prose Poem by Michael Estabrook

Old man sitting on a bench in the soft sunlight waiting for his wife inside getting her physical therapy shoulder rehabilitation. He’s trying to write a poem about nothing in particular, watching the old ladies coming and going carrying their colorful exercise balls and yoga mats, hearing the faint whir of the building air-conditioners, feeling the breeze moving the hairs on his legs ever so slightly, the smell of fresh cut grass flinging him back decades to his summer job on the golf course watering the greens at night then lying on his back memorizing the constellations twinkling billions of miles away.

His kidney transplant is six months old doing great, but he stays home afraid to move fearing it’ll be rejected and he’ll die. Understandable, I tell him as I sit down. But are you exercising? Doing some walking. I’m on this bench, aren’t I? No, I mean exercising. Can you lift weights? You need progressive resistance training to strengthen your core, you’re back, chest, legs and arms. It’ll make a new man out of you. Start with light bench presses, curls, deadlifts . . . and he’s staring wide-eyed at me like I’m trying to claw the new kidney out of his body.

LOL

A Poem by Michael Estabrook

Kickboxer

As you get older after sleeping 8 hours
you do not wake up bright and bushy but instead
stiff, sore, stuffy and groggy but what to do about it?
Googling tells me get up, hydrate and take
a kickboxing class and I laugh and laugh.

Husband

Finally the day ended with my darling wife scowling
at me because I told her I’m not doing any more
of this house-fixing-up happy-horseshit now
it’s 7 pm so there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it
I tell her, but I’m not sure she heard.

Spider

Whenever I find a spider in the house I leave it
alone but sometimes one shows up in the bedroom
and my wife says “either that spider goes or I do”
and at times I confess I’m tempted
to leave the damn thing right where she found it.

Nice to Have a Hobby

Snow and ice storms, freezing cold (minus 8 at one point), snow shovels, snow brooms, snow blowers, icicles, ice dams, ice scrapers, ice chisels, ice brushes, ice melt, salt and sand, plows and sand trucks, power outages, knocked over mailboxes, trees and wires down, cabin fever raging within over the long dark cold months turning us into virtual wild slavering beasts . . . OK so I complained like crazy about the miserable winter we had here in New England BUT! finally beginning to see the light (we waste no time, skip right over spring) summer’s on the way bursting in all its life-giving glory: lawn mowers, fertilizers, rakes, mouse traps, moles, mosquitoes and gnats, poison ivy, wasp spray . . . ah the great cycle of life goes on and on and so does my complaining, what can you do, nice to have a hobby!

Michael Estabrook

Toots

A Poem by Michael Estabrook

Retired, we only have one car,
and the wife . . . well she’s the boss you know
like all wives are
can be stingy with the car, need it
for a “business meeting”
or some special shopping urgency blah blah blah
hey wait a minute I’m the man of the house aren’t I?

I’m gonna demand the use of that car today
I’m gonna march right up to her and stare into
her pretty shining brown eyes
and state sternly
like I really mean it “I’m using the car today toots
whether you like it or not. Put that
in your pipe and smoke it!”
Well, on second thought.

When Our Eyes Would Meet At The Station

A Poem by Michael Estabrook

One Friday night the winter of 1971
I got the last seat on the bus home, back row
in the middle, the worst seat.
Sleet and snow turned
the one hour ride into two
and the woman beside me fell asleep
on my shoulder her name was Jean,
24 years old working at Fortunoff’s
in New York City.

She was tall, pretty and pleasant,
with long brown hair. We’d say hi
when our eyes would meet at the station.
I liked her and watched her closely
could tell she hated it when men—
especially middle-aged businessmen
with plump wives and kids in college—
made passes at her.

But I never did that, I only said hi
when our eyes would meet at the station.
But that was enough for me
because I was young, life
was still a mystery
and she never
fell asleep on any of their shoulders
like she had on mine.

Magic Dragon

A Poem by Michael Estabrook

In Studio Grow Children’s Play Space
with our two granddaughters:

stacking blocks into barns, buildings and bridges
knocking them down again

climbing over the wooden slat bridge then crawling
through the long slinky plastic tunnel to freedom

making salads and waffles and triple-decker burgers
in the play kitchen then play-eating them

assembling a tall chimney on Tom the Builder’s Lego House
that he shares with Nurse Betty and sometimes Dr. John

doing a dinosaur puzzle and a farm animal puzzle
sometimes mixing them up into a confused clutter

playing a turtle, a seagull, and a tiger
in the Make Believe Puppet Theatre laughing

uncontrollably as the bar holding the curtains
falls down

Then Peter, Paul and Mary’s Puff
comes on over the studio stereo

and suddenly I’m struggling
to hold back tears no idea why

A Swarming of Bees

A Work of Prose by Michael Estabrook

Last spring the bees were swarming searching for a new place to build a hive. Such a rare and special event you are so blessed the Bee Huggers tell us. And it is a marvel, almost romantic, watching them collect, 40,000 workers strong surrounding their Queen.

But we should have them removed: “They could sting the grandchildren or end up in your eaves or walls or chimney and then you’ll have real problems.” So we pay $525 to have the soccer ball sized swarm hanging from a branch above our driveway removed. The Bee Busters don’t use chemicals, don’t kill them, that’s a very good thing. Instead at dusk they vacuum them up in their torpid state and move them to a hive in another town kind of like a witness protection program for bees.