about the author

Steve McCord is a family therapist specializing in addiction medicine and a member of the labor management partnership team at Kaiser Permanente. He is on the board of directors at the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust and serves as president of the Orpheus/Apollo chapter of California Federation of Chaparral Poets (CFCP). Steve has studied with Ellen Bass and Sy Safransky. When his schedule permits, he travels, dabbles with wood carving, and grows organic vegetables in his garden. His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Forge, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Sun Magazine, and Long Beach Press-Telegram.

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Opposite Shores

Steve McCord

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We are no longer in a race
To fill in the blanks.
When I choke on chalk dust
And exhale third grade, my elbow remembers
The contour of Melissa Henderson’s initials
Carved into my maple desktop.

Lingering at the Long Island farm stand
Holding a beefsteak tomato, listening to the dry cornstalks
Rattle in the late afternoon breeze, you and I both hear
The redness in Mom’s voice, and feel Father’s eyes
Begin to shuck us from his world.

We later learn to drain whiskey bottles
As small town raindrops cling to Friday night goalposts.
Best Laid Plans, three for a dollar;

We both divorced the same woman
We married, but cannot find
The man that married them.
Everywhere we look
Answers take on the shape of a nest.

Now we sit on opposite shores of the lake
Behind our eyes, never even smelling the smoke
Of the bridge we burned...
Rearranging dots we cannot connect.

After Father’s funeral,
The game of catch we play
With the truth

Leaves welts.

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