Poetry by Noel J. Hadley

November 13th, 2011





A game of cards

If you ever wanted to know about my grandfather
and his three younger brothers,
you should have paid a visit while my grandmother still lived.
All you had to do was ask.

“Those four fools,” She’d say, “always with their cards.
Play – Play – Play – Deal – Fold – ‘All in’ – Play.
Each weekend proved the same. You couldn’t pull them from their cards.”

If you wanted to hear a story about grandfather
and his three younger brothers,
that’s the story she’d offer.

And it was ever the same.
Except once. ONCE, halting mid-sentence, as though recalling some strange, distant fiction
that can now only be fished from spotted reels and school books.

“And then came The War,” She said, “When their card dealings paused to separate for distant shores.”

“And wouldn’t you know? Then came the news that our boys had won.
I won’t forget it,” She said, flexing her gaze to a smile.

“Murray, Percy, Jack, and Bill, returning through the same door
by which they had gone to fight The War many years before,
to finish their hand of cards left undone, nothing more than
hello’s offered, as though all of it, the bombing of Pearl,
the Nazi shroud in Europe, Midway, Battle of the Bulge, Hitler’s stache, –
all of it,”

She beamed brighter than before.
“Were nothing more than a sleepless night or a passing dream.”



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