Sheila-Na-Gig online


Richard T. Rauch

RauchBorn and raised in the New Orleans area, I live along Bayou Lacombe in southeast Louisiana. I am fortunate to be part of a tenacious team of NASA engineers and scientists dedicated to sending human explorers back to the moon and on to Mars. (Keep your fingers crossed…) Poetry credits include: Burningword, Cape Rock, Confrontation, Crack the Spine, Euphony, Jet Fuel, Grey Sparrow, The MacGuffin, Pembroke Magazine, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, along with the anthologies Love Notes (Vagabondage Press) and Down to the Dark River: Contemporary Poems about the Mississippi River (Louisiana Literature Press). Fiction credits include Infective INk and Aspen Idea (Aspen Writers’ Foundation/Esquire Short, Short Fiction Contest finalist)

A Life Well Lived
(in 3 words, 3 syllables)

Her advice was as simple
as it was persistent,
incessantly persistent.

At each opportunity,
in every instance,
her advice never changed.

Each syllable, emphasized
in the same quietly sweet,
but emphatic, voice

in success, in failure,
in the broad gray areas
of mediocrity

during every stage of my life
hyperactive, selfish child,
smirking, slouching teen,

know-it-all twenty-something hotshot,
or doubting middle age
her advice never changed.

Even now, these three words,
these three syllables
that guided me through life

still resonate deep within
my now weary heart,
my imperfect soul.

These words. These syllables.
My long-dead mother’s voice:
“Do Your Best.”


With whisk of broom and sling of mop, she
Sweeps across the boards, wringing her hands in glee,
Under a kitchen marquee, whistling “Lorna Doone”
Half consciously. Then with a waxing mind, she parts
The curtains of the living room and curtseys
With a brush of hands, surveying the carpets,
Bringing motes to life, dancing to her tune.
The feel of grit, delight, the stage now set.

As if on cue, content to keep the hours
As light as feathers pushing dust in spirals,
Gliding past rooms and rooms ballooning
In dizzying blurs through ballrooms whirling
In her head–the applause, the whirring, the roars–
Waltzing her vacuum ’cross well-worn floors.

%d bloggers like this: