dreamstime photo
Of Hammers, Stars, and Memories
by Ken Gierke

Our work finished after adding
the final touch to the barn we’ve built
over the past week, a horse stall
for Lori’s Morgan, we wash for dinner.
Our bellies full, we place kindling
and split logs into the firepit
on the hillside below the house.

Daylight slowly fading, we sit before
the open fire and our gaze turns
to the horizon as twilight reveals
an expanse that darkens to reveal
the marvelous sight of the Milky Way.

We talk of work that’s done
and left to do as the moon rises
and the flames recede to leave
glowing embers that send sparks
skyward to remind us of the reward
for a day well spent.

Long after you are gone,
I look back on my many visits
to help make your home
such a welcoming place
and realize that every moment,
from swinging a hammer
to gazing at the night sky
as I talked with you beside the fire,
will stay with me forever.

PHOTO: Barn and Milky Way by Dreamstime.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For many years, we traveled to my parents’ retirement home in Fillmore, New York, south of Buffalo, and on many of those weekends I helped my father with his many projects, from raising a ham radio antenna to building a pavilion for family gatherings to building the barn mentioned in this poem. That 70-mile trip was worth it every time, for the chance to maintain a close relationship over “long” distance with the two people who meant so much to me. Except for in the dead of winter, sitting beside an open fire was a part of every weekend visit.

Ken Gierke_bio photo_2022

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ken Gierke has lived in Missouri since 2012, when he moved from Western New York, where the Niagara River fostered a love for nature. He writes primarily in free verse and haiku, often inspired by hiking and kayaking, while his fondness for love poetry may be explained by the fact that he moved to Missouri to be with the woman he eventually married. His poetry has appeared as a micro-chapbook from Origami Poems Project, as well as in several print anthologies, including three from Vita Brevis Press and another edited by d. ellis phelps. He also has been featured online by Amethyst Review, Silver Birch Press, and the Ekphrastic Review. Visit him at rivrvlogr.com.