Bob Bradshaw, Missing Socks

Missing Sock

We had runaways before,
socks escaping the dryer.

It’s just a sock, my wife said
when my favorite twins

separated. Why mourn
a piece of fabric?

How could she understand?
She had never read Neruda’s

Ode to Socks.
And weren’t they woolly socks

perfectly paired
for winter’s hard floors?

Remember when my favorite socks
warmed to your feet, darling,

on a frosty night?
Besides, how could I not worry?

How could a single sock
survive on its own?

Who adopts a single sock?
Sadly I slipped the sock

left behind into a drawer,
where she waits even now

for her partner’s return,
weary from his wandering,

ready to cling to her
once more.

Outside Her House

We sit outside her house for hours.
I throw my arm around Roy.
He looks at my blank face,
licks my cheek as if trying to stroke warmth
into an avalanche victim.

‘It’s time to go, Roy,’ I say
and grab his collar, but he stares back
as if unpersuaded.

‘Hey, did Mozart enter a monastery
because a singer gave him
the heave-ho?’

‘Here,’ I try again and tug at Roy’s leash
as if pulling at a stubborn knot.
‘Who has time to let grief
muck up his heart?’

And for the moment Roy
is convinced — then yowls
as if no pulling of a leash
could ever get him to move
from this heartless spot.

Why I Sleep

I sleep to escape Sheri’s nagging,
as irritating as underwear filled

with chiggers. I sleep to find girls
who find my frog-like face

charming. Who don’t mind
kissing me over and over,

as if each kiss held the promise
of a winning lottery ticket.

I sleep to escape the grudges
that hold onto me like pit bulls,

to avoid the mistakes
I’ve made, the promises

unkept. I sleep
to slip into a deep ellipsis…

after all, there is no one to correct
my grammar in sleep,

only the long verb of a snore
that lies down with me

like a lab, a collie, a mutt, unconcerned
whether or not I’ve counted

the night’s sheep correctly
or not.

Recently retired, Bob Bradshaw is searching for a hammock to spend his days in. His poems have appeared in Apple Valley Review, Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY, Loch Raven Review, Pedestal Magazine, Stirring and many other publications.

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