sho Kindly Give Up | The Poetry of Lee Kisling

Kindly Give Up

Soon to be published in Sixfold


Kindly Give Up
Kindly give up these seats for the elderly and the daft,
arthritic abuelos singing pharmacy songs.

Kindly give them up.

Where they have been you are going.
Where they are going you are also going.

Give them directions, not to there-
they will find there easy enough, soon enough,
to where else they are headed before there
with always bags of stuff on the bus.
Kindly give them your seats
your help, your hand, your memory.

Eyes magnified by thickening lenses, leopard spotted.
Less admired certainties, less effective remedies.
Less likely recoveries, less remembered memories.
Like strollered babies eying their peers,
they watch each other disappear.
Landmarks of long lives, having passed by here before,
creased old maps, now everything’s changed,
what with the by-pass and one-way streets to the shiny
spotless hospital on the hill where

Once upon a time

cows stood.

What is most depressing about cemeteries is the heavy yellow
machinery—once just a couple of bums with shovels
lowering themselves, making it last.

Please give up thinking of their movement as mass transit.
Picked-up pilgrims along the road, slowly boarded,
carried to clinics, casinos and churchyards,
deposited on corners. Speak to them
in Polish, Spanish, or Serbo-Croat.
Nod in understanding,
yes, yes.
Babies once, transported in arms, never alone,
tiny fingers, pink toes wee wee allthewayhome,
soothed, sheltered, spanked, adored. Kindly make
a place for them, give up your seats, soon
the return, to the corner of
Here & Gone, en memoriam, the gray
guests of honor.