All his life he tried to set people straight,
but eventually he grew weary and tired

and sat on his lawn chair reading Keats
or whittling wooden elephants for kids.

The world liked its misery too much.

They liked thinking too little.
They liked checklist philosophies.
They liked easy answers.

Worst of all,

those who thought themselves individuals
were least likely to have an original thought
and also most likely to oppose one…

So he quit and enjoyed the sun,
how wind felt on his face,
the way wood gave way to blade.

He had tried but he had failed.

In that, he felt he was in good company.
Even God sent Noah’s flood,
a slaughtered son,
before He retired to a small shack in the woods

to make rainbows.

James Valvis has placed poems or stories in Arts & Letters, Barrow Street, Eunoia Review, Ploughshares, River Styx, The Sun, and many others. His poetry was featured in Verse Daily. His fiction was chosen for Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net. A former US Army soldier, he lives near Seattle.

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One Response to Retired

  1. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    A beautiful piece and one I certainly can relate to.

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