Overnight Poems

by Edward Ahern

The Overnight
An empty house has an atmosphere,
part breaths of those absent,
part echoed laughter and fear.

I didn’t want to have to stay,
but it meant warmth and food,
and was bearable for a day.

My tour through their lives was subdued.
They were what I saw they owned,
but their things just made me brood.

I knew how they lived I condoned,
but the clutter made it quite clear
that they wasted their lives unatoned.


Guilty Pleasures
Evil is more complex than good.
My memories still half-alive
are of things that shouldn’t be done,
and my waking delusions
are preoccupied with seven things deadly.

Omnipresent talk and acts
tell me I’m not abnormal,
but I survive best
with an active imagination
that replaces acting out.


The Flowers
It’s not the fault of flowers.
They were contented weeds.
Till pulled and stuck in bower
And bred to suit one’s needs.
A weed is wild and never cowers.
A flower is cut for greed.
A flower is sent for lack of word.
A weed is plucked as loving deed.
As tarty, smelly petals sour
Give weeds their hour to feed
And all the beds devour.


The Name Cascade
The same names percolate through a family like a roof leak.
And except for the Juniors and Seniors no outsiders notice.

My mother’s father was Edward Willman
He had five daughters, so his name died.

After what I suspect was an argument,
My first and middle names became
Edward Willman.

I have a cousin whose middle name
Is also Willman, without Edward.
Probably a compromise.

Family memory seems to die away
In three modern generations
But I balked.

So our infant son was given
A middle name you’ll guess.
A loving infliction.

Our son called when his son arrived.
And said the middle name was Willman.
The grandfathers are pleased.


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