lee evans

They Called Him Pap, For Short

On the parlor wall—
There my grandfather’s father
Held court from the grave.
It was a “time exposure” photograph,
Composing him as he posed.

He had piercing eyes.
Before he purchased the farm,
He was employed there—
He was the slaves’ overseer.
More than that, we knew nothing.

We were just children.
What did we know about slaves?
Life seemed idyllic;
But we didn’t want to play
In that room, without adults.

Quite enough it was
That his soul had burned its gaze
Through time’s windowpane—
That we feared his dominion,
Recoiled from his cruel stillness.


Without biblical imagery
A desiccated oak leaf
Swivels on its stem,
Stuck in a sunlit sheet of snow
Tracing a wheel within a wheel
With the points of its tips,
And comes to rest
Fixed like a sundial,
Shadow frozen
Upon the face of time.


On the concrete retaining wall
In front of our mortal home,
A frog with rigor mortis,
Seated as we sometimes sit:
Legs bent over the edge,
Amphibious countenance
Peering through the humid air
As from the bottom of a pond,
Upward to the autumn leaves
That drop and float upon the surface—
As though he enjoyed like you, like me,
The immortality of the afternoon.

Having spent most of his adult life in and around Annapolis, Maryland, Lee Evans now lives in Bath, Maine, and works for the local YMCA. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Deronda Review, The Poetry Porch, Mused and The Christendom Review. His poetry collections are available on Amazon and Lulu.com. All but a few sketchy facts can be established concerning his biography, and he very well may be a fictional character.