Today's poem is by Melissa Stein


                    Trouble on the prairie,
in the bending heads of the Queen
Anne's lace. Among the long, long grasses
flailing. And the monarchs' wings
above it all, their newly flustered
pulse. He comes along the path,
off the path, swiping the bobbing heads
from his way, the lavender cones,
dust-yellow brooms, and the spiders
strung in them. Boots flatten the blades
and behind him green struggles
to close itself up. He crosses the marshes,
arms out in front to part cattails that dare
to rise taller, a flurry of displaced wings.
He'll find that doll he lifted to the swing
and pushed until her feet touched the sun.
He'll find the girl whose both hands
fit his one, whose very lace sang pure
in summer as in winter, whose eyes were
clear as marbles shot from his grubby
fingers, the fingers of boyhood
friends. Whose skin ripened till he could
barely see— He's reached the woods
now and the sentinels of trees are whispering
won't give her back and the floor is more shadow
than light, the very creek with its crayfish
gurgling ours now and then his now
and what sky there is reeling with new
certainty, and he kneels in the jewel-
weed its jester cap blooms, ridiculous
pods exploding with seeds, and the ferns
rise till they meet the leaves
and the dizzy leaves
spread to meet the vines
and he kneels and he kneels
in that green confusion.

Copyright © 2006 Melissa Stein All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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