Enter Home Planet News Poetry of Issue #6                        Page 40
Table of

Chutes and Ladders

She squatted on carpet
beside toddling boys
and girls, taught
them to roll dice
between chubby knuckles.
They moved red and blue
plastic pieces through
myriad twists and swoops,
ups and downs. All
was fun and games,
until my father
packed up, skipped
all rules and moves,
swept past all players,
an exciting up and down
game for little people
boxed and shelved
to gather dust.

  Richard Dinges, Jr. __


A descent on stairs
two at a time
tests my knees,
balance, aging
sense of youth
still stuck within
what my legs
can do despite
what my wrinkled
brain insists
on not doing
after reading signs
at each landing
to use handrails
to mitigate
for my long
quickening descent.

  Richard Dinges, Jr.__
Lost Cat

Flashlight quivers
among wood's black
bars. My daughter
calls for her cat,
a brittle arthritic
remnant of childhood.
A coyote scoots
through brush.
A horned owl hoots
from sky's shadows.
She calls kitty
kitty, her last
grasps at kittens
and stuffed toys
before turning off
the flashlight and
entering a door
into adulthood.

  Richard Dinges, Jr.__

A coyote’s tracks
press fresh snow,
paw prints led
by a feathered
spray where toes
slid across in straight
line tread beside
a barbed wire fence
brushed by brown
grass, all frail
shadows from early
morning, when
I still lay in bed
Buried in my own
warm dark dawn.

  Richard Dinges, Jr.__