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Today's poem is by Maxine Scates

The Giants
       

Out here, all darkness, stars overhead,
I can finally see the giants. After all the years
weighing dreamís fragments, I can see
how each small thing, dead bees, a girl touching
her ear, rose petals in a pool of molasses, leads
to something larger than a life, the way the eye
follows a trail of stars then sees first one
and then another constellation against the dome
of night. My giants, I can almost love them now,
their hunger, like a piece of oak in the fire
eating every piece of wood around it,
they ate everything. They left the bones scattered
on the old brown sofa, the rabbit headless
in the yard. They lumbered, light full
on their shoulders, their hair backlit and flaming,
birds and small animals fleeing as whole families
left uneaten meals behind. I know
they canít eat me. I know them as I know
that to a child I might be as large as they were,
and when they fell, the distance of their falling
was so great the blood flowed, the earth
smoldered, and when they cried their crying
filled every room with their tears, and worst of all,
when they left they always came back,
the jostling, the trestles quaking
in those days of the giants sowing their bitter gifts,
their curses, their sour blessings, their hurled
and their spilled and their shattered. What was it
that ate them, the dream they couldnít see burning
inside them, the questions they never asked,
the tree whose shadow they did not lie down under?
I can see them, all that broke them, their shirts
creased with sweat and rank oil when they climbed
into the truckís cab at dusk clutching the brown bag
and the lottery ticket. Their feet rang out,
their doors slammed, they trudged, they cried,
they gave me these stars on a dark road, the rose book
on a winter afternoon, the hooked thorns
of the climbers, the ramblers blooming over walls
and outbuildings, blooming over their graves. They
gave me everything I wouldnít have known to love
without their whine, their roar, their terrible noise.



Copyright © 2011 Maxine Scates All rights reserved
from Undone
New Issues Poetry & Prose
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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