Susan's Voice

A Man in a Hurry

gloria tennis racket






By Susan Lilley

The Sunday we now know was his last
ended with an Easter cook-out, and Dad
picked up a plastic patio chair that just
that minute had broken under him,
and in a mock fury he flung
the white wreck over the azaleas
and into the back yard, where it lay
for days, forgotten.  The word
“sudden” is not sudden enough for what
happened the next day, how he fell
into a long minute and stayed there,
stayed no matter how we called him back.
The ambulance too, stayed and stayed,
EMTs busy inside while we stood
on the front lawn, not believing
anything. The next day,
I was taking another bite of somebody’s
homemade lemon pound cake
when my eyes fell on a fresh
can of yellow tennis balls he had left
atop a bookcase a few days before. Just
stashed it there as he dashed through
the house in his usual great big rush
to get on to the next thing.

(Originally published in The Sandhill Review)

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