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The Poet's Corner

Filling in the Blanks


We had so little time dad.

Why did you have to do

that crossword puzzle

instead of talking with me

on the train we shared

by chance that morning

on your way to work?

Our worlds crisscrossing

vacant backyards whizzing by

your pencil tapping the newspaper

letters filing into their numbered rooms

the pounding, screeching, gliding steel

commuters getting on-off

their bowed taciturn faces.

As a boy I thought work was a place

you went to finish your dreams.

In truth, it’s where you buried yours

in the foundation of someone else’s.

Yet yours was the noblest sacrifice

money, merely digits in the squares.

Your lessening figure descending

the stairs through the train’s tinted glass

into the black and white boxed work yard

I pick up your unfinished puzzle, your warm pencil

tapping, I begin filling in the blanks

each letter a day, each word a year

our lives the theme, your death the puzzle

Glenn Harrington is a painter who exhibits his figurative, landscape and portrait paintings nationally. His portrait, “Brooks” from the Golden Pheasant Inn, won the Portrait Society of America’s Draper Grand Prize. Glenn has illustrated the poems of William Shakepeare and W.B. Yeats. He paints and writes from his Bucks County schoolhouse.

Poet’s Corner is curated by Bucks County Poet Laureate Tom Mallouk and supported by a grant to the Bucks County Herald Foundation made possible by Marv and Dee Ann Woodall.

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