Barbara Kreader Skalinder

During This Temporary Recovery

                        after Eavan Boland

Backyard Familiar by Mason Bondi

Later, when your remission
begins to fade

I will say that I did not take the time

to appreciate your desire to improve
my digital life, to give me first dibs

on all leftovers. I will say
I failed to enjoy your mindless whistle,

the way I always know where to find you,
mornings reading The New York Times to Haydn and Prokofiev,

afternoons caught up
in computer codes and numerical projections, television

tuned to airplane disasters and delayed golf tournaments.
I live, wishing we could wander the Medieval villages

of Alsace and hike that Colorado meadow to Lake Isabelle,
just the two of us, the butterflies, and the columbines,

instead of savoring the salt on your home-made bread,
instead of exulting in the chaotic cross-talk of family dinners.

I will say I wasted time wanting to read Kooser poems
together under an aspen tree, to meditate

in sun-stung mountain air
instead of discussing the intricacies of Apple apps

as we watch the Badger ferry come into Lake Michigan’s
Ludington Harbor again and again and again and again.

When your remission begins to fade, will I grant

myself remission from these sins of omission?

Is there still time to stroke the dog’s wild, curly head,
to sit hand in hand as we watch Poirot in all its reruns?

Is there still time to taste the sweet tang of the day-to-day,
to be in remission from wanting what is missing,

to gather in the abundance of all there is?


About the writer:
Barbara Kreader Skalinder is a poet, musician, and teacher who lives in Evanston, Illinois. In addition to her MM in Piano Performance from Northwestern University, she holds a Writer’s Certificate in Poetry from the Graham School at the University of Chicago where she studied with Dina Elenbogen and Alice George. She won the Student Writer’s Prize Honorable Mention. A member of the Plumb Line Poets, her poetry has appeared in RHINO, Persimmon Tree, Split This Rock, Mayday, After Hours, and Clavier Companion. She is the author of The Music of Teaching.

Image: Backyard Familiar by Mason Bondi. No medium specified. No size specified, No completion date specified. By permission.