Jul/Aug 2008 Poetry Special Feature

June, sweet peas climbing the wires

by Brent Fisk

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.


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