Harlen Campbell

"A writer of fiction has just one obligation -- to entertain the reader.
Only if he has done that superbly can he deal with his personal concerns in a story."

I wake in the night . . .

          . . . and stare at a ceiling I cannot see while the cat prowls the dark, trips across my legs, and the rest of the house breaths deeply, or turns in untroubled sleep . . .

My daughter:

          The chick forgets the egg. How can the shell forget the chick?

My wife:

Donna, I thought I knew you when
You let me into your life, offered me your children,
Your promise and your fire. But I knew nothing
Of your children, promise, or fire. The years you offered
Were empty yet, pages we could fill.

We've filled some years since that day. Covered pages
With quiet laughter, a tear or ten, pain that brought
Amanda to us, covered pages with her sweet joy,
Covered others as Lisa blossomed, Darryll grew,
Mary came and went.

And as we turned each page I thought,
Donna, I know you now. I have you fixed in my heart,
I thought. I've measured each dimension,
Tasted and smelled and kissed and loved
Every inch, every hope.

But I was wrong, my darling. I stand still on the shore
Of an empty continent, ripe for exploration. Ripe
With other years, other joys. Donna, I barely know you!
You have strength I've never spanned, passion I've yet
To touch, depths I'll be measuring still
When our years are full and I look at you, hold all I know
Of you tight in my heart, and with a greedy kiss
Say, Donna, I hardly knew you then, but Donna,
I know you now.

Gun oil . . .

          . . . tastes like shit. I know.

. . . and then I dream. . . .

Copyright © 1995, Harlen Campbell

© 2004-2015 Red Hand Productions

Copyright ©1995-2015 Harlen Campbell — Last updated August 21, 2015.