Half Drunk Muse Poetry


Driftwood and White Geese by Michael Ladanyi

As I stood at the open kitchen window this
morning watching white geese hold their
steady triangle, seemingly attached
to rigid strings, pasted to the hanging gray
sky that was their puppeteer, and rested

on the green, pine-haired shoulders of
purple-black mountains, I thought of you,
your image painting itself to my eyes. I
stood still, waiting for a repositioned
memory to cough, step forward as the

next in line to tell its story again, childlike
voice at first, uneven of tempo, like
the lead in a Christmas play
performed by nervous second graders.
January-chilled air swam into my lungs

like drops of rain that have no need to
breathe, sharing their purer oxygen as
atmospheric pulses, humid stained
glass transformed. The memory paused,
shuffled its small feet, until I managed

to focus my attentions. You appeared not
as you had been, rather, as you ended,
as misshaped clay, angled, dishonored
by the guilty hands of a greedy artist, one
bent on strangling his canvas, if it means

limelight and a circle of stick and straw
friends eager to share his food and wine.
Your cancered pain was so intense. I
remember you lying there, telling me to
take care of my mother. I had replied

with the text-book, “you are going to be
okay”, feeling as if I were cheating you
with my simple response, setting you
hollow upon a blazing funeral pyre,
watching you float away on the salt-green

sea, while small pieces of creaking
driftwood tapped against my bare
feet, as if saying, “We will wash to
you at your time as well.” After a
moment, that memory stepped back.

My eyes adjusted to what was beyond
the window again, just as I heard the
geese snap their strings,
watched them melt into the thin,
worn, reposed horizon.

View bio for Michael Ladanyi Published in All Poems 1999-2004

About HDM

Half Drunk Muse was one of the first poetry ezines. It was founded in 1999 and ceased publication in 2006.

Questions/comments? Email samiller@halfdrunkmuse.com.