Colleen’s Weekly Tanka 2020 Poetry Challenge Synonyms of Comfort & Torn
Three Senryu’s on human nature along with a story.
Tom spent his days out in the barn. His night by the campfire. He couldn’t quite forget the way things had been when Judith had been alive. He missed her. He found himself growing impatient with the daylight. He wanted nothing more than to be done. He was worn. No comfort remained for him in his days. He closed his eyes, the saw laid to rest beside him. This then, was the end.
He awoke on a park bench, just south of Heaven’s gate. It took him all day and most of the night to get where he headed. He knew he’d find her there, waiting for him. She always said she’d park herself outside the gates and rest a spell till he showed.
It sure was beautiful here.
Look at all the happy faces.
He waved to a few and renewed his pace, energy bursting inside of him that he hadn’t seen in years. He’d been changed inside to a new version of himself, strong and true. He hummed to himself and continued on. Surely, he’d reach those gates soon. He came to a gate, but it wasn’t the pearly ones. It was ordinary and showed signs of life. He gazed at the white picket fence in confusion. He’d seen it somewhere before but where? He peered at it. Why—it couldn’t be.
His old house. The one of his first wedded years with his wife. They’d lived on a farmstead outside of town. Bellbrook, OH. He inspected the gate further. Oh, how he remembered the creak! He always meant to fix it but never found enough time.
His fingers splayed across the gate hitch. Another second and he was inside.
As he approached, he saw someone swinging on the porch swing.
It was her. Judith. He smiled and waved.
She blew him a kiss. “Welcome, home.”
“Where’s my tool shed?” He scratched his newly restored hair.
“Take a gander out back.”
He did. The old shed was in need of as much repair as he remembered. He nodded to himself. Just right. He rejoined his wife on the bench and sipped a glass tumbler from the pitcher of iced tea she had on the tray on the table. She passed him a chicken sandwich. With a bite, he savored the quality. “Man, there’s no place like Heaven.”
“Heaven,” she said. “Why, Tom. You fell asleep on your tool bench again.”
He woke to the brightness of another lonely day. With a groan, he picked up his tools and started anew. His gaze went toward the ceiling as he at last set his saw aside for a time.
He blew a kiss. “See you soon, darling.”
The lights dimmed in the shed with a switch.
Maybe he’d enjoy some iced tea. A little reminder. A little promise. He reached for the pitcher and pain shot through him. He heard something shatter as blackness covered his vision.
He found himself before the picket fence. This time, he didn’t hesitate to go in. Judith laughed at the wrinkles fading from his skin. “It’s like we always imagined, isn’t it?” she said.
He nodded; afraid he’d wake again.
“Don’t worry. You’re home now. And about time. This place needs some tending to. Your tools are out back in the shed.”
He smiled. “Don’t nag me, woman. I’ll get to it after a drink of that tea and one of your famous sandwiches.”
scoured boots in the shed
tattered khakis faded perch
before the tool bench
saw rests in
cracked in shoes