Walking Patricia Home

by Jerry Krajnak

Wrapped in coats and scarves, mittens, hats,
flesh well covered, we leave the junior high dance.
School lights fade to darkness as we walk away.

At each intersection street lights shine
on diaphanous hills of white
that sparkle in the cold like diamonds.

Removing mittens, we twine our fingers
in the pocket of her coat. Our rubber soles
squeak in the snow. Blocks pass by too quickly.

Her porch light shines. Someone
is up, waiting for her.
Hurry to untangle fingers. Quick touch of lips.

Inside, a silhouette crosses toward the door.
Hug for Dad, tiny wave for me
as the front door shuts. I trudge home.

Think about twining fingers, lips,
find lights are off, everyone asleep.
As I undress, it strikes me how she knew,

just knew her dad would sit up and wait.
I wish that he had not stayed up for her,
and we were now cuddled in her den.

But an idea enters my fourteen-year-old brain:
Someday I want to be a dad who’ll wait
the way Patricia’s father does for her.

Jerry Krajnak grew up in Wisconsin and is a former altar boy, a Vietnam veteran, and a survivor of forty years in public school classrooms. He shares a North Carolina mountain cabin with rescue animals and when lucky, also has a grandchild or two around. He waited until Covid’s appearance to begin sending out poems for others to see and feels fortunate that a couple dozen found homes in various journals and anthologies.