>sixth off, we laugh


This is what beavers do.
One day the tree is standing, the following day the tree is not standing. What happened in between? I’ve come to realize I use between an awful lot in poetry. Ok, so I use the word mitten quite a bit, too, so perhaps that doesn’t mean anything. Oh! And I am just now realizing words like perhaps and mayhaps show up frequently. What’s up with all that?
In the meantime, in the . . . uh . . . between time . . . with napo writing done (30 poems in 30 days in April), I thought I’d share one of the drafts here. It’s (huh! go figure!) a between poem. This one takes place somewhere between the Emerald Hills and the Yellowstone River and was almost called “On Becoming Two Old Codgers” but I decided that what goes on in the poem is transitional, a between thing.
Rehabilitation North of Emerald Hills

Once you agree to walk with him,
you walk the crushed red track
with the disgruntment you’ve been
carrying around for days
ever since you did the math
and realized you were no longer
middle-aged and he tells you how
disgruntment is not a word and how,
second of all, you shouldn’t want
your face to match the poorly-
thought-out sky and how,
in the third place, today’s grey sky
looks like a painting
no one would ever buy.
The track you walk circles

a practice football field
behind the country school
funded by Exxon, the only
business in the river bottom
once known as Poverty Flats.
An orange Just Say No Frisbee
abandoned in the outside lane
reminds him of what he didn’t do,
and why he’s here now doing laps,
bagging trash, recovering wind
and strength and friendship.
There’s a softball, lost in deep grass.

His throw falls short
of the tool shed and he mourns
his aging mourn about the increasing
lack of distance in his throw.
You do the math and tell him how,
fourth off, he’s gained two yards
for every three years you’ve known him
and, fifth of all, it’s good he’s quit aiming
for that poorly thought-out sky.

Photos courtesy of William O’Keefe,
somewhere between the Sun and the Missouri River.
April 29/30, 2011.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

2 responses to “>sixth off, we laugh

  1. >Much muchness in this somehow becalming poem! That seems to add to the betweening.

  2. >the poetry is lovely but I can only think about beavers and tree trunks as I have never seen that before. amazing.

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