Poem – At A Party (By Robert Ronnow)

At a Party

I spoke with two people at the party Saturday.
A young police officer, short-haired, fit,
chiseled face who had two young children.
He felt constrained by the law, without discretion
to question mopes (perps) aggressively
or to let go those who were obviously no threat.
Even at a family function he seemed straight-backed, correct,
devoted to his role as our protector (and his children’s)
yet I thought perhaps too deeply in debt, indentured
to the rules and laws of legislators and destined
to be disappointed (or worse). I thought his courage
and devotion (to whom or what?) would surely
be poorly repaid and that this lesson
was necessary to ready him with wisdom
for death or further living. I worried like a brother
about the unpredictable dangers, even terrors,
he must daily face, and the pleasure he takes in facing them.
How will he return to the fragility of family,
of the soul alone, after wielding the force
of the state, the blind, combined will of us all?

Next a business exec, retired from a well known
global investment firm. At first we talked about
the lush beauty of the northeast compared to the arid west
(although he loves every inch of the west, too).
Then somehow we got beyond light conversation
when he complained about the perceived decline in values
for instance how the Ten Commandments can’t be publicly
displayed. He said we can all agree on God
but I said I have a mechanistic view of the universe
(although the unknowable always sits just out of reach
of the known). I told him my dad’s theory, a good man
and a corporate seeker of God also, whose leadership shoes
I could never fill until I swore belief in a supreme
being. No hard feelings. Then he told me the story
of his best friend, an atheist, not even a deist
like the founding fathers, who opened his eyes for the last time
to correct the exec’s misperception that now he’d meet his maker.
Having exceeded the bounds of acceptable conversation
I went looking for my children. Nothing more to question.

Author Bio: Robert Ronnow

Robert Ronnow's most recent poetry collections are New & Selected Poems: 1975-2005 (Barnwood Press, 2007) and Communicating the Bird (Broken Publications, 2012). Visit his web site at