Five Poems

by Patrick Theron Erickson


That exiles may know
what it is
to pack lightly

and travel
more lightly still

to pack a box lunch
and eat on the run

to pack and unpack
their belongings
and never belong

and not get caught
with the rat pack
as the pack rat does

in the kerfuffle
with extra baggage

that exiles may know
their rock
between a rock
and a hard place

and knowing

be not crushed.


my slavish heart

no arc of triumph

Take no rebate
no rebuttal

Take no no
for an answer

Malign my dim wit

Expound to me

all the light
a lighted lamp affords

only trim the wick

lest I fumble the adjustment

and lampblack be your return
for incomplete combustion

and partial illumination
your only reward.


This is the hump
of my undoing

this lump

the thump, thump
of your doing

our undoing

This is cancer

And we’re over the hump

This is not
a biopsy

This is an autopsy

And we’re both over the hump

This is the thumbprint
on our death warrant

This is the pathologist

the sure path
to a positive pathology report

or a marriage certificate
to a coroner

who can smell bad blood
in the lab results

and avoid
a no-fault divorce
and alimony

if not an annulment
and the funeral expenses.


Little holiday steamers

we call them
the Shilling Six

We watched them load
and unload their crowds
of holiday passengers

the gents
full of high spirits
and bottled beer

the ladies
eating pork pies

the children sticky
with their peppermint sticks

This little steamer
like all her brave
and battered sisters
is immortal

She’ll go sailing
proudly down the years
in the Epic of Dunkirk

snatching glory
out of defeat

and sweeping on
to victory

How the little holiday steamers
made an excursion to hell

and came back

(Foyle’s War, PBS)


Light of the angels
light the lights
in Dodger Stadium

Light the likes
of these

little men
with their big bats

and would be
golden gloves
and golden arms
and golden amulets

Light of lights
the lights of Los Angeles
are inclined to agree

the light of the Dodgers
is waning

And it’s only week thirteen.

Patrick Theron Erickson, a resident of Garland, Texas, a Tree City, just south of Duck Creek, is a retired parish pastor put out to pasture himself. His work has appeared in Former People, Cobalt Review, Literati Quarterly, Burningword Literary Journal, and Grey Sparrow Journal, among other publications, and more recently in Right Hand Pointing, The Penwood Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, Wilderness House Literary Review and Danse Macabre.

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