Thursday, February 20, 2014

His Slide Rule

he always had it--
his slide rule - in its expensive brown leather case

his named embossed in gold
first prize for winning state slide rule contest

when he died I got rid of most of his things but kept a few
his slide rule stayed where he'd left it

in the drawer of his roll top desk
from time to time I took it out and held it

I didn't know how to do but a couple of things 
the numbers growing too small now to see

it had changed his life, had allowed him to 
conquer with numbers his small town life, his insecurities

it had even brought him to me eventually
I imagined him wearing it on his belt through high school

college, graduate school where it was a badge of 
achievement, where everyone was a geek

coming home from a trip I hadn't noticed anything
no sign of break in, nothing seemingly missing 

after a week I was in that room and opened the drawer
my heart dropped, the slide rule was gone

I searched the house - the only other missing thing
his college ring - gone - my heart raced - who would take it?

could it be, wherever he was, he wanted them?
after all perhaps he was able to retrieve his treasures

he always said all objects are only charged matter
perhaps he found a conversion method on the other side

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 2.20.14 * All Rights Reserved


  1. wow...this turned into a bit of a ghost story...
    its an interesting perspective...looking at a totem that meant so much to one,
    helped them make sense of life or opened new doors for them.
    but we can not even use it....intriguing too on its disappearance

    1. It was..only my trusted neighbor had the key. No one had been in or out. Nothing else disturbed. Both gone - very mysteriously. I had planned on giving them to my oldest grandson who was/is planning on becoming an electrical engineer too. Sad and truly strange.

  2. Oh, you know I remember those slide rules from high school. They always looked complicated to me, and far above my ability to understand. Funny, how they are no longer used by anyone, an antique, a thing of the past. But it sounds as if it was important to him...and you... I would be sad about the missing of the class ring though. I really would.

    1. Especially as I had tried to get the boys to take it and they said, "no you hold on to it for a while mom".

  3. A wonderful story, containing tenderness, history, intrigue....

  4. Excellent take on this "object" theme! Those final two lines are especially mysterious...

  5. Nice twist on the story, who would have taken it ~ You portrayed the character with the slide rule though I can't remember now using them, smiles ~

  6. A wonderful take on the prompt, and yes slide rules were the geek rage in the late 50's, early 60's, went along with a pocket protector, and tape holding together broken glasses; its disappearance is a poltergeist tale for sure;I had friends that lived in a haunted rental house, who lost several items the same way; intriguing.

  7. So much here to think it he really gone? A thing made into something signifying so so much..;)

  8. You know your Dad was right. I had a strange happening occur after my Dad died too...could not be explained...on our terms anyway. I too wrote about something I have of my father after he passed... Enjoyed your story, Gay.

  9. oh heck gay...that last part made me shiver - there are things that mean so much to someone and it feels only naturally that they would want to take it with them... and i bet over there are surely things to measure...smiles

  10. I can feel the tenderness for the owner through your words and at the end the elements of mystery and nostalgia are just right. Very nice poem!

  11. Well done Gay. A touching portrait of the man. >KB

  12. What a great story of the man infused in his tools - reminds me of my Dad's dad. So sorry they are missing :-( a piece of a legacy gone. You did weave a great story here, so perhaps it does live on in your poetry.

  13. This gave me the chills, Gay. Somehow I do believe certain objects hold another's energy. This does make you wonder. So much loss we go through.

  14. Ho, I must be one of the youngest persons alive ever learning the slide-rule...In high-school I finally got an electronic calculator... but how eerie that these two objects just dissappered

  15. A beautiful take on the prompt - it started very warm and intimate details but left me sad in the end.

  16. Oh, Gay...I can't think of another word to describe this poem...but 'tender'. It didn't make me shiver or anything, it just was such a wonderful tale of loss and love. You built this very, very well. The loss is twice over, neh?

    You said to me that 'it was just a little thing" but it isn't. It's full of pathos and awe and longing. Truly a remarkable delicate piece of work. I really enjoyed this...and yes, it is a bit haunting...but for other reasons, not the disappearance of the sliderule and ring.


    Hugs, Jane

  17. That twist at the end is heartbreakingly haunting. Love and loss and a slide rule, great write.

  18. I wasn't expecting the ending, Gay. Poignant and sad and tender the poem is, yet it gives in to the positive with that final line. How much more lovely to think "he found a conversion method on the other side". Really enjoyed this.

  19. Wow, what a mysterious tale you weave. I truly believe our loved ones have the power to do these things on the other side. How touching that he took back those meaningful items. Thanks for sharing this Gay :-)

  20. Lots of mystery here - especially in the closing!!

  21. Good poetry....... Sad though to think something so special could come up missing.