Today's poem is by Mike Smith

Franklin. Swimming.

Out back the grapes are overripe and falling.
It's colder here already. Wind from the north
follows the river where I walk to find
in the concrete and iron of a dead industry
water is caught, funneled and shot
to no purpose now, though once a year
sportsmen come, and there's the fair.

(More than miles and centuries, I think,
separate us tonight.)
                                Industry. Beside a pool, I stand
(as years ago he and I would sometimes stand)
and watch water lap the banks where the impulse died
or moved away, and tonight, I think of you,
but as a boy, before your father's prose
claimed its swift and clear victory.

For years the story stuck with me.
Not the sane and reasonable plan you made of it
years later, but as it must have been: wading in,
then on a whim retrieving your kite
and, under the wind's power, crossing
the wide lake; bow with the thought, the bright face
must have brightened, watch the kite as it rose
or suddenly swerved with greater purpose;
box as you neared the center, when you reached
where you believed the true center of the lake
must he, your knuckles stiffened and whitened,
eyes following the thin, glistening line
until they mere blinded by a kite no longer a kite
but a sun; and how, when you could,
you opened your eyes to see, on the other side,
your friend, the footnote, your clothes
under his arm, patient, waiting his turn,
though puffed and flushing where he stood...

Copyright © 2008 Mike Smith All rights reserved
from How to Make a Mummy
Custom Words
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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