Gradually Then Suddenly
Flowers a dull pink and out of stories.
The clown in the middle of town
dances but only when the streetlights
go blank. Children puff through
the window in a way that makes their faces
an inner god. I have all these chairs
I cannot use. Only the belonging
they beg for. Consider a dead oven
then consider freedom. A heavy kite
could touch Jupiter if Jupiter existed.
Any child could become a swan
song. It doesn’t take long to weather.
Copyright © 2021 by Philip Schaefer. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 18, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.