Somewhere from out west
the call comes in: "Bob Peterson
died." Who's Bob Peterson?
I ask my wife. "My Dad's old
partner," she explains. "Oh,"
she adds, pained face,
"he had such a bad life.
No kind of marriage, though
they'd been together forty
years. Schizophrenic daughter,
to whom he was devoted,
died four years ago. All
he did was work. Even
Saturdays, though he didn't
have to go in." At least he
made a good living, I suggest.
"I guess." But she's reluctant.
"My parents tell me he made
bad investments."
Was he good in the business?
"He was great with the
men," she acquiesces. "Out
on the rigs. He could
talk with them."

And that's what I imagine;
the western sun golden in
late afternoon, spilling over
oil derricks steady as pumping
hearts. And in the long
shadows Peterson's white
smile, hand reaching to shake
the forman's, holding each other's
eyes just long enough, then
looking away toward the
horizon to talk about
business, not much,

Cary Griffith


There's mold in yesterday's coffee,
ashes in the fire pit.
We rise late to the overcast day.

The cabin's cold as bone
in a February wind,
though it's May, Fishing Opener,

which we took to mean
bottle opener, can opener
anything opener well after

midnight with the cabin lit
up like a Chinese lantern.
This morning we

rise, nobody speaks. The only
thing making us smile is the way Steve
leaped across the midnight deck,

wearing long johns,
rising in the air with more grace
than the Russian ballet.

Cary Griffith
CARY GRIFFITH has published in a few small literary journals. He studied with Tess Gallager way back when, at Iowa, then dropped beneath the radar -- children, struggled to make a living, put bread on the table, continued trying to write (though turned his pen toward money), got a divorce, etc. etc. -- perhaps you've heard this story? This is his second appearance in TAR.
The Adirondack Review