Jul/Aug 2014 Poetry

Three Poems

by Gary Dop

Image credit: Darryl Leja, NHGRI, Digital Media Database, www.genome.gov

Image credit: Darryl Leja, NHGRI, Digital Media Database, www.genome.gov

Iowa Summer

Before meth's magic collapsed
your face, before you pimped
your girlfriend to pay for gas

and grass on your joyride
to Vegas, we mowed lawns
in Indianola to buy chips and

cherry cola from the corner sundry
and that styrofoam airplane
to soar over the playground.

We hid behind the plastic
jungle, ate our cool
ranch doritos, and with our toes

disappearing in sand, we stared
high above ourselves, wondering why
the wings blew off

and the whole thing turned
from the open sky and missiled
to the breaking ground.


Starting at Noon on the Fourth of July

The guy in the corner house who refused
the cookies my daughters brought,
who speaks only to his garden, which

grows raspberries, corn, and wild grudges,
lights one firework every twenty minutes.
He trudges out his front door, across

his tamed lawn, and sticks a bulb
down his homemade barrel. Never
glancing up or around, he flicks the flame

and turns, head down, to go back inside.
He lives alone. His explosion,
the austere and wondrous daylight fire

goes unclaimed—he's inside before
it flashes. But he hears the thunder he's made.
Unashamed, he walks his steady, knocking

walk, again and again, and only ends
with the shade of night
when everyone else begins.


Father Drives Off in the Buick

The only thing that matters—he doesn't
    know why—is the crystal bowl
of jelly beans beside the fishing pole
    Father couldn't fit in the trunk. Mother
peels onions in the pantry. Sunlight glints
    off the crystal's ridges. Into the bowl,
he presses his little hand. Sweet, smooth
    pebbles rush like river rock
and swim like rainbow minnows around
    his hand, which feels everything close.


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