Today's poem is by Laura McCullough

At the Jumps

Boys bury the junk of the town—
washing machines, occasional
chairs, broken desks, monitors—
as the foundation for their jumps,
moving dirt with plastic buckets
from the woods still left standing.

At home, the parents watch TV
hoping the dead aren't dead
or at least not from this town.
Their collective sons are safe
roaring over their theatre of war
trying to get more air, bullying
the ones who get the least.

Each day in spring, they stay out
longer, protecting their sandy
territory, geometry in wheels,
their lives ballad enough, small
heroes in stories they can handle,
hoping each day after school
the jumps haven't been razed again,
so they'll have to start all over.

They are charged with the prospect
of damage and a surging thing
close to desire, their wheels
small beacons in one wilderness
everyone believes can be tamed.

Their parents reinvent themselves,
again, hoping to put off battles,
hoping light is what happens
when their sons' wheels turn,
the spokes blurring into a shudder
like the Time Machine jump
they try so hard to perfect.

It takes practice to find the right
speed and the balance point,
and they know what their parents
do not: that the trick is controlling
the speed and not the trajectory.

Copyright © 2008 Laura McCullough All rights reserved
from Crab Orchard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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