Hidey Holes – by Tim Louis Macaluso

The upstairs
windows glaze
marauding ice
from Erie and Ontario
snow falls
through a swollen
granite sky
a Western New York
shade of gray

Her hair
once a tumbling
chestnut, now
white as salt
fine strands
crumpled like Kleenex
mat the back
of her head

These were going to be
her freedom years
I imagined her
driving an old blue pick up
down a desert road
somewhere in New Mexico
dust tunnels like
sienna flares
crossing the mesa

She lifts her weight
to the front
of her chair, grips
and pushes off
to stand, her TV table
a fjord of hand creams,
amber prescription bottles
and crossword puzzles

An embroidery
of pain frames
her stare
neurons stuttering
like castanets
she taps [no break]
her upper lip
as if to say
promise me son:
no nursing home

She tells me again
she hasn’t heard
a sound in days
from the guy upstairs,
what has he done with
the dog
that howled all day?

We say goodbye
I think about the
hour drive
a fog of caffeine
leaving her
is hard
like trying to finger
a fleck of eggshell
from the whites
assuring me
she’ll be alright, she says
she is going to spend
the afternoon cleaning
another catch-all;
there are many
she calls them
her hidey holes
the places
where things

Tim Louis Macaluso is an openly gay poet, writer, and award-winning journalist. He has worked in media for much of his career. He was a long-time staff writer for CITY Newspaper in Rochester, NY, where he wrote extensively about education, health care, and local politics. His poetry has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including ImageOutWrite, Mudfish, Ravens Perch, Orchard Press, and Hazmat Review. Macaluso earned his bachelor’s degree from Nazareth University. He lives in upstate New York with Daryl Parks, his husband and long-time partner where he continues to write.