Julie Stuckey – Four Poems


In that old photograph
I see my father confident, full of purpose,
stepping down the street and dressed oh so smartly—

see the youthful hopefulness
prior to all that followed…
wars, divorces, children abandoned—

those eager years when all
efforts to stride along pragmatically
seem to propel us onto solid footing.

Yet we all know the earth rumbles and shakes
leaving cracks in its surface—
ready to swallow us whole…

and I am left to stumble—
wandering through tremors and aftershocks
in search of grounding.


Pointing Skyward

Those days were all about
trying to be good,
trying to do it right.
Each in our age-order position
in that line-up time.
Too many don’ts, too many no’s
and the terror of not even knowing.

Yet there were times, I’m sure
when fear was put to bed—
times when just being together
was enough.
Looking for the plane
heard way-off in the sky—
wanting to earn that nickel.
“I see it – there it is!”
Small fingers pointing skyward
as a silver speck trailing white
made its way across our blue.

Trying so hard to be the good girl.
And still you vanished into the ether.



You came from that generation of dichotomies
when lives were built upon surety—
right/wrong, black/white.
So when pieces to your puzzle did not fit
the whole was scrambled and left in disarray.
Three times you tried for completion—
past war and divorce and dark secret—
yet each puzzle was scuttled and left for another.

Bequeathed a sense of the unfinished,
I come from that scattered past—
those missing pieces, diverted interests,
pieces flung in anger—
striving still to interlock segments
into a bordered picture of wholeness.


Saving String

We go through our lives
gathering the many loose ends, bringing
them back to order by joining them neatly into
a tidy ball of string.  Something in the saving—all
that careful winding—gives us comfort and quiets
vague fears of uncertainty.  Neatly kept in the drawer of
the past we do not hear the mice of today nibbling away
—stealing bits and pieces for the newer nests of tomorrow.
Yet in our moments of need when we remember
ourselves back to that dependable neat
ball, we find ourselves surprised—
the frayed and tangled twine heaped in an
unrecognizable, jumbled snarl.