By Ed Ahern

It Had That Swing

My mother spent evenings listening to records.
Years of evenings.
78’s and 33’s, and only big band swing.
All named after the band leader.

The bands are largely forgotten now,
but there were Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey,
Woody Herman and Harry James,
Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller.

My mother, widowed and jobless,
Played the music of her courtship,
Of a yet unburdened future,
At least twice a week.

I never liked the music,
But had nowhere else to go,
And absorbed it despite myself,
Melodies lingering decades later.

In cleaning out her house
I couldn’t throw away the records
And suitcased them back home.
Never played, almost forgotten.

They’re serious collectibles now,
Worthwhile selling off,
But I can’t discard the future
She almost had.

Words for a Full-fledged Kestrel

You’ve done really well with
the first quarter of your life.
Now comes the interesting parts,
the ones with no refunds.

You’ll undoubtedly fail at some things
and make mistakes when succeeding.
Just treat it all like a Sunday dinner
and eat everything on your plate.

We old insist on offering
you young weathered advice
on safe passage through life
which you can safely ignore

How we lived, what we did
are well recorded and extinct.
Pretensions we thought important
are on sale at Good Will.

Protect your sense of purposeless fun
and tolerate your minor absurdities,
for achievements stale after their creation,
and difficulties dwindle into nuisances.

Who you are and what you want
will change as you discover yourself.
Just keep your sense of wonder close
and sense of humor closer.

Remember to enjoy the trip.

With Great Love,
Granddad Ahern

Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had over two hundred fifty stories and poems published so far, and six books. Ed works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of six review editors.

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