The WInd Always Screams at Me Here

Rocky the garbage man 

said there was no air

down by the river

and he waved his hand

across his face

as if he were shooing away

everything

that had ever oppressed him.


Then Rocky asked

how my team had done 

in the morning ball games,

taking an awkward uppercut

with his hands flying off

an imaginary bat handle.

Rocky observes a lot more

than he feels

he can articulate.


Rocky was wrong.

I sat on the rocks on the promontory

facing south

and the wind came

as it always does 

when I'm here.

Always.

Whether the sun

dances on the muck at low tide 

like today,

or the ice is drained of hue

in February's gloom.


The wind is two voices:

Andrew's is behind me;

Kathy's is in front.

I've told them

I would not forget them

and I have not.

I've told them

I would tell their stories

and I have not.


Mahler, mournful, emerges on the Shuffle

out of the beats of blues and soul and jazz.

Gulls shriek.

People chatter and drink beer,

Children dodge and squeal.

Andrew's and Kathy's voices

gnaw at the wind that contains them

but never emerge,

never syllabate

never make sense.


How could they make sense of it?

How could I make sense of it?

Andrew, 14, darting from behind

the  brick switch house behind me

into the path of a morning train.

He didn't mean 

for it to happen,

a psychic said.

Kathy, 17, stopping her car

in the middle of the George Washington Bridge

before me, 

scrawling "I love you all" 

in the dirt of her windshield.

Her body 

was never found.


Their words are in the wind

passing through,

leaving us

tussled and 

transformed and

askew.

But I don't think,

now,

that those words will ever

break through 

their own frustrated sibilance

and articulate 

anything I can understand.


So, of course, I cannot tell your stories,

Andrew and Kathy.

But I still listen.

No matter how still the day has been,

the wind always screams at me here,

incoherently,

on these rocks

jutting into the river.

    Copyright © 2006 - 2017 Thom Forbes, all rights reserved.