Joanne Durham

The Senior Citizen and the Boy Scout

The boy scout jumped up and ran

to help me lock my bike

by Troop 42’s stand at the fairground.  

Truth is, I didn’t want help. You see,

I’m 63 and quite able to pedal around town.

It wasn’t his fault, the leader—behind the table—

egged him on. Help her, Dan.


I said, I’m fine

but the man insisted, and poor Dan

has learned to obey those commands.

I’m not the nimblest with my hands

through coils and key, but the way I see it,

if I do it more, I’ll be better by 64.

I could have been gracious and agreed,

and everyone would be set at ease –

except me. 


Instead I said in a tone that surely showed 

I was a crusty old crone, I don’t need your help. 

He backed off and I fiddled with the lock

until it caught and I walked away.

All day I replayed what I wish

I’d been mature enough to say:

Thanks, I’ll try myself

if I can.  You’re a kid,

I bet you understand.


Still, couldn’t the troop leader

have told that part to Dan?

Falling in Love is the Wrong Idiom

Swept off our feet by that first wind of love we do not fall

in the gutter like a discarded candy wrapper, we rise—

a kite   a balloon   a swallow


And isn’t love like bread, slowly gathers the power

of bubbling yeast, leaving space

for one another to enter, don’t we rise to something delicious?  


Climbing the winding staircase of the old lighthouse, 

yes, there’s love, steep but always a glimpse

of sky with a slice of promise 


Even the morning after we argued, my fist slammed

against the wall, crashing our photograph 

to the floor, we rise out of bed and pick up the pieces 


because love isn’t squashed underfoot, and look

who we are now because we reached through 

our shadows, met in the glare of uncertain selves.


The orange moon lifts off the horizon, 

its reflection   on the sea   a path of shiny pebbles   

even as night falls, love rises 

Joanne Durham is a retired educator lucky to live on the North Carolina coast, with the ocean as her backyard. She was a finalist for the 2021 NC Poetry Society's Laureate Award and the NC State Poetry Contest. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Third Wednesday, Gyroscope, Rise-Up Review, Tipton and other journals and anthologies. See https://www.joannedurham.com/.

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