passages

by phillip gillis

I. “Summers”
the yellow bar stretched across the driveway
(it was actually more rust than paint).
blocked the entrance for a few more hours under the moonlight.
weeds edged up near the gravel path.
the sign read
Last week of the summer.
Pool opens at 9 in the morning.
the boys laughed as two hopped over the fence
and one slid under.

an alley between the two buildings.
heat beating down on almost dry concrete.
names and phrases etched in it
when no one was watching.
F.E.C. & I.M.R. 4ever
he loves her and she loves him.
the heart over her “i” added emphasis.

one last trip before they head back-
just for the weekend-
just for a night-
just to escape one last time before...
hear the waves
smell the salt in the air
read the banners pulled by planes above
Tonight Only! All You Can Eat Seafood! $14.99
a sand castle-
once unassailable-
shifts back into the ocean.

II. “Falls”
the sign was weathered-
beaten down by rain and the insufferable midday sun-
hanging on by one last gasp of fishing line,
it read
Pool CLOSED! See you next year.
as this one went off to college
and that one started his first job.
no time for fence hopping-
“The moon could wait,” he told his friend.

and love started…
again.
F.E.C. & I.M.R. 4ever
the concrete was permanent.
rigid. fixed. unyielding.
but a line chiseled through the initials.
a thousand different faces
maybe they would see each other again.
or not.
halloween just around the corner.
masks for the season.
masks for the holiday.
masks for life.
“This is the type of day the heat sneaks up on you,” he thought.

blends of orange, yellow and green
breathed life into the mountains
just as the leaves were at their end.
Grandfather
Mountain
“Carolina’s Top Scenic Attraction”
a series of winding roads carefully snaked around the mountain.
town to town.
home to home.
finding their way from this place to the next.
life all around…
all he had to do was look.
“I swear you can smell the beauty up here,” he told her.

III.  “And Then...”
he once read a book about “the fall”
but he couldn’t understand it then.
and the birds sing
Hallelujah.
and the birds sing
Hallelujah.

Phillip Gillis is a teacher, writer, wanderer, semi-retired professional wrestler, and father of two beautiful children. He is also a proud native of Allensville, NC and grew up in a hardware store, C&G Supply Center.

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