Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

[Two Poems]

by Mike Hedrick

How Far to Damascus?

I turn off 101 to Pismo Beach
en route to four weeks of hanging drywall,
and Damascus is nowhere in sight.
In town, there’s Gomorrah, a country bar
where women wear tight Levis and boots,
and on up the road in San Luis
there’s Before the Flood, a nightclub
with college girls in short skirts and tube tops.

I wake 3 a.m. on a Sunday,
not your run-of-the-mill Sunday,
it’s Easter. When I realize this,
and the shallow arc of my life
comes at me like a thrown knife
or, like a voice out of nowhere
speaking to a blind man,
I wake the stranger next to me
and, in the cold of the bedroom,
tell her to leave.

I walk outside—the brightness
of the moon round about me—
and on a cliff above the sea,
I’m the last man on earth
snared in a desert, hearing voices.
But in that instant of this Easter,
as certain as stars, as weighted as the ocean,
I know that Damascus is not far.



Watching Peggy Sue Got Married Without You

When the theme music starts
the house heaves, the trees out back
sigh, the moon’s a searchlight
sweeping the earth.

There is no place without you tonight:
the kitchen, the den, the bedroom,
even the car as I drive to the coast
and the cliff. Far below the surf;
high above the moon. Each
waxes and wanes, fragments
of you done and undone.

Our daughter’s daughter
sleeps in a borrowed crib, a fan
stirs the summer heat,
the video monitor observes.
Maybe the Christians are right—
there is a heaven. Maybe you’re there.
And maybe you met our granddaughter
before her descent to us, spoke
with her, gave her advice on parents,
teachers, friends. Warned her
about love’s endurance.


SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

Mike Hedrick

Many years ago, his 10th-grade English teacher taught modern poetry with her hair on fire. Hedrick’s been writing ever since. A SoCal boy all his life, he has work published in The Christian Science Monitor, City Lights, California Quarterly, and A Year in Ink Anthology. He writes for discovery. Discovering words, ideas, emotions, insights. For the feeling of originality and uniqueness that comes with what’s revealed. And to share what’s discovered.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury