What I Forgot Not to Pack

(three mis-sketches scrawled before sleeping off trans-Atlantic jet lag)

 by Robert Bové

Bass Rock seen from Tantallon Castle, 2006 by Robert Bové



Before taking hiking cure



Gannet nests on volcanic rock,

eider shelter in a bay,

heron wades in Margaret’s Loch,

and winds hold hard from the West.


So, morning sun at Tantallon

soon finds us by the cottage.

We’ve had our coffee, shared a scone,

accounted for last night’s wreckage,


fragments that passed for conversation

and sleep on flight to Edinburgh.




What I thought he was about before realizing the guy noticed we were lost and just wanted to offer us directions



I never prayed to have children,

I never walked hand in hand.

My hunger left no time for either;

I followed its every demand.


I never bent a knee in prayer,

but bent I am now, still silent.

I never prayed for children:

why do they pray for me?




I mistake a parade issuing from Parliament with Standing Committee on Celebrations



They consult no list—


Agents of celebrity contact them hourly, all

decisions made voicelessly,

a paper pushed slowly with fingertips

‘round oval table, an eyebrow lifted slightly,

a brow furrowed lightly.


They meet once a month, mirthless,

at table littered with cookie crumbs,

drops of diet cola.

They recognize snickers,

and snicker when recognized,

their cell phone alarms poised,

set on retirement.


Last year, they decided on one thing, one thing alone:

to ring the table with padded leather lips,

upon which they now rest their elbows,

better to stare at table’s empty center.





2006 by Robert Bové 


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