News Clipping, 1978
by Chris Hayes
-The Leaf Chronicle
On the flipside of another article
about Watergate, a photo—
my father at twenty-six
in his fan-powered boat,
gliding the Cumberland’s wide
stretch of warped brown glass.
I imagine my mother across town
in the kitchen of their A-frame,
tending to a skillet, or maybe
nursing my infant older brother.
The propeller that pushed my father
farther and farther away from his wife
and firstborn son, now hangs above
a window in my house. A thick twist
of oak and riveted steel, it’s nothing
more than a conversation piece, as in
Where the hell did this come from? I can’t say.
I can only tell you how it whirred and spun
on its newly greased shaft for at least
one brief morning in the summer of ’78.
My father piloted his flat-bottomed boat
downriver until the sun sank and he burned
up every sweet gallon in the glistening tank.
Not pointed toward home. Not even close.
On Turning Forty-Two
by Andrew Kozma
There is a settling in the bones, the foundation
cracks to admit the earth has never wholly left
the body. Year after year I succumb
to gravity. My spirit, a figment of the flesh,
sees so much more from this lowered angle:
the underbelly of living, the intricate
interlock of muscle, bone, and nerve
running silent till now I feel the grit
in the gears that will never pearl. It’s true,
all true, so experience assures me.
Yet worms still curl themselves, after rain,
having escaped the ground, into black lace.
Ants tirelessly build and rebuild what crumbles,
and when they die, are buried in the larder.
Youth drones on oblivious to all,
tasting every sodden flower, as if Spring
will never end. Say true, I used to flirt
with death, blind of the face behind the cowl.
We sit at the same table now, cautiously
sipping our coffee spiked with brandy. We wait
in silence. We wait for the other to speak first.
How Shall They Hear the Word of God?
by Haines Eason
Chafed by numerous suns’ accusing, you who must go
go for broke in a garbled bungalow. Just a little kiss.
“At four o’clock in the morning?” It was
six or so days, freed of phlebotomists’ fist-pumping
syllabi. He unknots my ties, draws my tea. Why I didn’t laugh
tonight : no wonder in the recusal, squirmed away, again,
against the severe bed’s preposition. A match lights the
black porch. Slick oak scotches the rear of the throat.
Once was time enough for several longish years, concurring
haplessly, one by one. My boy, my boy—when ever
will you learn? A good heart is a good bargain,
a blameless one a burden. The brethren’s sinecure
dangles before the lips. The heathens’ many-gabled,
guttural moan. Awakes to a start, Sunday. Home.