Garden Umbrella

Original Publish Date: 9.1.00

Tall, solitary, unhindered
It stands with its arms down
Its white canvas draped around it
Like a devotee in his robe
Head down in solemn discourse
Pleats shuffle around in the breeze
Looking like a schoolgirl’s skirt
Churned back and forth listlessly
During a scolding
Shamed eyes looking at the ground

The whispering cloth seems almost impatient,
But impatience has a destination.
It is the moving wind
That is impatient
A world of water rushing by a smooth stone

The closed umbrella seems
To take on the forms
Of all the fragile and weary

A gaunt elderly woman, chin buried in her chest,
Cloak pulled tight around bent shoulders
Trying to keep the cold out

A motionless sentry
Overdue for relief on a second shift
Fighting off the intruder, sleep

A Klansman
Donning his old uniform in the attic
Wondering that he could have been so happy
With something to believe in.

The umbrella is closed
Guarded and tender,
Like a woman betrayed
Where is its splendor and beauty?
Where is the Master to come
And loving lift its arms wide?

There hasn’t been a Master in a long time
Maybe there never was
Maybe the Master has forgotten, or doesn’t care
It seems like those memories
Could have been real,
Or maybe the fantasies
Of a hopeful mind.

And what of the delicate, verdant shoots below?
Who will protect them from the sun?
How can a garden persist if the zealous heat
Is not warded off?

Is it the umbrella’s job to hold out its arms?
Where is that Master?
Why does no one care for the garden?
How did the garden and umbrella even get here?

It is hard to know such things.

The umbrella knows nothing
Except to stand in the wind
And hope for a Master.