Soldier Boy – by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

 

Who’s this? says my grandson
poking the Ché Guevara refrigerator magnet
we’d picked up at a tourist shop in Paris,
such a bougie thing to have El Ché’s image.
He was a soldier, I offer, swamped by Batista,
by Motorcycle Diaries’ humanity,
the medical student saving life,
he was killed in his war.
We’d heard a lean girl in a seaside resto tell her friend
I saw that movie. I almost felt guilty.

My five-year-old grandson snorts, delicately.
Soldiers don’t die, he proclaims,
they know how to protect themselves.
Star Wars and careful parents
have taught him near-guarantees.
Sometimes the war is too big,
they can’t protect themselves enough,
I reply, then wonder
why I need to convince him
the world will be too big for him,
the world will be more than he can bear.

 

 

 

Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German major, two-time Pushcart nominee and occasional photographer, no longer lives for Art but still thinks about it a lot. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. Kelsay Books publishes her book-length collection, The Book of Knots and their Untying. www.cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com

 

 

I Help My Husband Sleep – by Karen Greenbaum-Maya

 

Your head rolls onto my shoulder, crushes
my hair so it rasps in my ear.
I smell your silver hair,
Einstein-wild from hospital sweat,
waxy under my hand.
Me almost under you, offering myself
as a better bed, compressing
the single-use egg-crate mattress.
I’m here to let you let down.
Stop fighting your eyelids’ pull.
Burrow your heavy head into my breast.
I’ll hold on while you take up your dreams
like a tired dog who feels the grass
under his paws, twitching in his sleep
at the flicker of abundant rabbits.
I lie braced in the narrow bed
that keeps me from cradling you enough.

 

 

Karen Greenbaum-Maya, retired clinical psychologist, German major, two-time Pushcart nominee and occasional photographer, no longer lives for Art but still thinks about it a lot. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks, Burrowing Song and Eggs Satori. Kelsay Books publishes her book-length collection, The Book of Knots and their Untying. www.cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com