David Lohrey

Cincinnati

After 70, certainly 60, the parents have done
All the harm they can do.
It’s time to relax, time to see the world.
Spend some dough, especially when they have a ton.

After all, the building is finished. Get out
Before the rot sets in. It’s time to spend.
Find out what others have done,
See the damage caused by fanatics.
Pick through the ashes, tour the churches.

You love to travel.
The turquoise suitcases and yours, too, in fuchsia.
Get in long lines and try out the smelly toilets.
Study the alphabet.
You’re a kid again in elementary, waiting
To be told what to do.

The cruise ship awaits, like a tomb stone in water.
Get away from it all; hit the waves.
Wait out the clock; kill time.
You have nothing better to do.

Best of all, are the globs of food. My God, escargot by the shovel.
Pudding served on a paddle, oodles of sirloin steak ice cream,
Au jus, with horseradish, mustard and relish:
All of that with a cherry on top and fat-free.

Line up for a lick of this and a taste of that.
Elbow your way to the carving station.
Just remember to save room for the filet of kangaroo.
Endless morsels can be had, served on the finest of china
With a smear of bottled mayo.

Home sweet home is what you dream about,
Especially after a bout of diarrhea.
The grandchildren are waiting for a hand out and a kiss.
Your daughter hates you but will be waiting at the station.
Her husband’s moved to Kansas City with his boyfriend.

The real awakening comes when you try to share the highlights
Of this year’s ordeal; everybody’s already been there.
Sammy knows Timbuktu like the back of his hand.
Delhi? Bahrain? Kyoto? Are you kidding? Lived there 45 years ago.
Better take your sushi to the grave.

So what in the end is all this travel for?
How many times must you visit Kennedy Airport?
Isn’t 17 times enough? Make it 24? My advice to you is to stay in New Jersey.
Learn to appreciate Delaware. Have the escargot in Cincinnati.
Seeing the world is great but try staying home and discover the familiar.

***

David Lohrey grew up in Memphis. He graduated from U.C., Berkeley. His plays have appeared in the UK, Switzerland, India and, most recently, in Croatia. In a Newark Minute and Sperm Counts were translated and produced in Estonia (2016). His poetry can be found in Softblow, The Blue Mountain Review, Otoliths, Cecile’s Writers and Quarterday, In addition, recent poems have been accepted as part of anthologies published by the University of Alabama (Dewpoint), Illinois State University (Obsidian) and Michigan State University (The Offbeat). David is a member of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective in Houston. Recent fiction can be read in Crack the Spine and at inshadesmag.com. The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th century literature, was published this year in Germany. He teaches in Tokyo.

A Literary Magazine