|Jul/Aug 2008 Poetry Special Feature|
June, sweet peas climbing the wires
Palms abraded in the gravel drive,
I'm splayed out in my brothers' wake
like a lizard near the cistern's lip.
I rise and hobble to the fencerow,
old wooden posts grooved like stalks of celery.
I am the youngest brother who plays
with metal cars beneath the yews,
cries over broken blue eggs on the walk.
I know the details of the treasure map,
three paces to the left of the downspout,
the root-foot of the oak, mossy crook
where I've buried baby teeth and agate.
Some days I am my brothers' favorite target.
Today they outdistance me, slip across the road
where I'm not allowed to follow.
I tell mother they're smoking grape vine
and cornsilk beneath the culvert. She cuts
a singing switch from the willow,
won't wait for my father to welt them.
My palms sting with this secret pleasure.
I am the youngest brother.
My anger burns third-child slow.