Swing Song

With curious hope, with pain
I’ve tried to catch what I used to be,
Floating beneath the locust tree
At our prairie farm, on a rain-cured plank.
………….I’d sound out clouds, and fly
…………….With the birds, swinging so high
………….I kicked the sky

And it kicked me back. The branch broke
And I landed on my shoulder blades and tail,
Fists still gripping still-hitched rope,
And I heaved and heaved, the sky opaque.

………….Locust tree, you meant no harm,
…………….So I swing here from your other arm,
………….Still your fool, your pendulum.

My Career on the Boards

And then we lay still in our bluestem fortress.
Nearby are headstones, leaning and sinking.
An apple in hand, a hat that reads SPORT,
“So what are you, really?” he asks like a sphinx.
…………….“That’s,” I laugh, “what the miser said
……………….When sophomore year I played
…………….The cloaked and tight-lipped dead-faced

Ghost of Christmas Future: Remember my winging,
Straight at Scrooge, one long-nailed finger?”
A friendly tease is a pleasing thing.
I watch his teeth break the apple’s skin,
…………….And with mineral glamor he arches a brow.
……………….“One year,” I add, “I wore a cloud
…………….Of beard and played the shouting