Raw Throated and Breathless
She had asked for a slow song to dance to and so, she swayed before us unsure of how to move she could not stomp and spin she could not pop and lock she could only rock gently her arms swinging slowly by her side
I lasted thirty seconds or so before I felt it coming from deep in the pits of me bubbling and boiling and ready I thought I could keep it there then we locked eyes she was po faced and earnest
I crumbled and the laughter came erupting, a geyser of unwanted joy I buried my face in my hands I closed my eyes and clamped my mouth my whole body tightened but the laughter, torrents of laughter would not be stopped
I looked through damp fingers to see her run, for the first time away from me, her despicable father I saw her cling to her mother hiding her face from me and still, the laughter came fizzing from me, unrelenting
I crawled to her pleaded for mercy kneaded her shoulders and laughed and laughed and never stopped laughing amazed at myself
raw throated and breathless still leaking giggles I retreated and waited her whimpering calming muffled, she said “I was trying my best” “I was trying my best”
I opened my arms wide as the world and finally, tentatively she came her frame, fragile as a bird’s I felt her smile against my cheek “Stop dad, you are squeezing me too tight.”
We have an old rotary telephone it is disconnected, a curio, a quaint reminder one day it rang and I did not answer it for a long half minute as I did not recognise the sound
The Future was calling I asked what lay in store for me and there was only silence I asked, “is that a good silence, or a bad silence?” The Future answered in a voice devoid of melody “only silence.”
We found a treasure my father and I walking once together in the tail end of my boyhood we came upon caramel popcorn for sale not the usual sanitised play-it-safe spray on hardened caramel but sticky gooey hot and dirty caramel poured over fresh popcorn then shaped into an apple of steaming chewy sweetness none of my five-a-day we looked at each other over the top of our treasure we each took a bite felt the warm richness move through us around us we did not blink just chewed and smiled and for that half minute the universe was ours
now, I watch leaves pool like water against the garage door and every single part of me wants just one more bite
Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. Recent publication credits include Better Than Starbucks, Fowl Feathered Review, The Blue Nib, The Opiate, Sky Island Journal, Poetry Quarterly, Evening Street Review, The Folded Word, Ink In Thirds, Crack The Spine, The Cape Rock, Visions International and Third Wednesday. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and his chapbook, "Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong" is available from Fowlpox Press.
Visit his website HERE!