A Philosophy Course

What I have is the present: cloud faded fringe-worn blue jeans and t-shirts proud of former events and dates. The bonfire future on another summit.

The past translucent, the characters rewritten.

Today is my opportunity to untie my hands, swallow the rain, bury nuts for winter. Pronounce correctly all the names and magnetize them. What I don’t know wanders snow-blind.

What I do know caves in. What I want to know puts me on a leash. The collar snug, the lead short, I tug taut, gasp for breath. The cool-aid dissolves and colors the water, needs sugar.

Can I be sweetened?

It still aches under healed scars. The tree leafs but the center is hollow and awaits a storm. An old stump supports a fungus. Why does the hibiscus wait until September to bloom?

The begonias awoke in May.

The chipmunk never gives up inspecting the same ground. Again and again repeats and repeats. The sand dunes have shifted. The path appears the same but it’s not.

Am I inoculated from the wind? Vaccinated for the virus of expectation? Or do my roots still clench the ground. The nut in the Blue Jay’s jaw unbroken, the taste of tomorrow.

Doug Van Hooser's poetry has appeared in Chariton Review, Split Rock Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Poetry Quarterly among other publications. His fiction can be found in Red Earth Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Bending Genres Journal. Doug is a playwright active at Three Cat Productions and Chicago Dramatists Theatre

His website is https://www.dougvanhooser.com/