SALT
by Robert McCloy 

Old St. David’s (Cheraw, SC)

August pines and majestic magnolias
Stand testament to centuries
Of weddings, Sundays, funerals;
Gentle, torrid wind
Adorns the forlorn, silent yard.

What stories
Of passion, hope, faith,
Impotence, despair, bewilderment
Are sealed in the roots
Of the swaying Ecclesiastics?

Entranced by their stoic
Stillness, I gape
At the lumbering Druids.

I remember the cicada chorus
In my father’s eyes,
The anger of summer
Carved in my mother’s palms.
I see families of graves;
Named, forgotten,
Finally at peace.

I walk to the church window,
Pews full of shadow and illumination.
A harmonious hymn of solitude fills one’s soul
As he looks in through his own reflection.

Baptist Softball League

Welcome to America,
To the red-clayed diamond
Of the Baptist softball league.

Feel the unforgiving leather
Of a new glove,
See the sun setting,
Hear the cheers of wives
And laughter of children
With popsicled chins.

Your safe here among your fellow patriots,
Driving trucks, loving guns, saying grace,
Holding fast to a false narrative.

So far from where you were born,
From the houses of your youth:
So far, so good
One imagines.

No one here knows
You are a refugee,
Born naked, famished, feral;
Just pretend you are normal.

Out in left field
As the sun gradually disappears,
Stand prepared to catch
Any ball hit to your space.

Ordinary
American, breadwinner, citizen, family man

Living the dream
In the Southern heartland.
Nobody knows how far away
I am.

Salt

It’s not what it should be,
Not picture perfect
The way I thought…

There’s rock and bone
In this field of furrows,
In the flowers
Bee stings,

And day after day searing heat.
Salt is in the soil,
In the body of bread we eat.

It’s not what it should be,
But it was, it can be.
There are moments of an angel passing…

When the sun is honey
And the air honeysuckle,
And the soil Eden.

We are not what we should be,
But the inconsequential days hide essential moments.
Patiently, I painfully toil,
Recalling and hoping.

The Body
I.
Eternity starts
With the umbilicus,
Where the sacred, strange spark of life
is transferred.

From there, a world
All its own, is born;
An electric, rhythmic, dynamic
Micro-universe of being.

Tender trails
Of caresses,
Brush fires
In the night,

Tear trails
Under the chin,
Scar like a shooting star
Frozen in the darkness.

Who will wash my body,
As it was washed when I was born?
Who will look at my face, fallen still,
Recollecting love?

II.
A life spent unumbilicaled:
Flooding REM cycles,
Submerging disassociation,
Overwhelming neuronal cannonades
Of chaotic imagery.

Where is the dawn,
The light to reconnect my soul
To its original core
Before birth and war?

And who will see the naked, uniformless me? 
Who will behold my unpunctual purity? 
Can I relinquish my relationship with the enemy?
Can I find the narrative in my poetry?

Green Snake in the Spring Meadow

A shedding of skin is inevitable,
You cannot continue to be who you have been,
Nature requires progressive development.
Besides, you know it is time,
The past pulls tight,
Constricts your movement.
Time is palpable for sure.

So on a bright blue day
Brush stroked by the wind
Saunter through the meadow
To the pile of rocks by the pond,
Move upwards slowly,
Let your weight weigh heavy
On the edge of the highest rock,
And do what nature and time
Lovingly demand.

Robert McCloy :



I am a strong advocate of a growth mindset, and as such I have attempted to pursue living as a journey.  Writing poetry and reading biographies was my first positive coping mechanism, and has endured as such.  I grew up in an adverse environment outside of Pittsburgh, and was fortunate to have a teacher, Mr. James H. Demcheck, who mentored and guided me with commitment and love starting in my high school years and lasting throughout my life.
After five years of military service, I settled in South Carolina.  I am a grateful father of three–Lillie, Rawlins, & Price–and a happy husband–Christie Baker McCloy–of 15 years.  I have had the privilege of being an educator, thus a student, for the last 19 years.  I am now attaining my degree and as a Mental Health Counselor.  In honor of my mentor and his profound influence on my wellbeing, I am working to publish my writing as well.

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