There’s a father sleeping it off in every master bedroom
of the cul-de-sac the morning after, so Saturday
morning is a snooze. The moon is still out, eyeballing
the quiet street like Sun Ra did his Arkestra. Somebody
has to be a father figure for all of those musical notes.
No school busses to huff after, no mothers yelling
their children onward. The only weekend noise is us,
kicking rocks—so bored we can’t even hear each other—
on a celestial swirl of asphalt that will be a playground
one day. We stand, right feet extended in unison like foos
men, rock after rock arcing at sorry angles toward
the open bar that hopes to dangle four swings. Some
rocks go through, some miss as we balance on concrete
meant to backstop hop scotch & echo knock knock jokes.
Not somebody’s father, finally up & at ‘em, yelling,
You got to be kidding me, after he opens the property tax
bill. Maybe these bars were placed here for some other,
future kids to be dragged away from by big ears
or red necks toward the unavoidable arguments, fist-to-face
noises & the bleating saxophones that come after.
Copyright © 2016 by Adrian Matejka. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 9, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
Darkness wounds the barley,
etching it with denser clouds. A herd sends its
envoy out to nose the garbage at
road’s edge before creeping into the expanse.
And the rest follow with cheap hunger—
ten at once through the swaying curtain, heads
tipped, disappearing in the dim.
Wrong to think of them as vessels
in which your feelings live, leaping across emptiness.
Light a candle. Entertain pity all evening.
It isn’t the deer’s work to hold you. That isn’t you
growing full in the field. Paint them, your
heaviest brush lavish with creams and blacks,
trembling, timid, before the canvas.
Copyright © 2016 by Paula Bohince. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on September 19, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.