michael hogan (July 14,1943 / Newport, Rhode Island)
And the Livin' Is Easy
Those afternoons when the tendrils
of late blooming morning glories droop
against the whitewashed fence
and even the roses have lost the look of roses
and nothing is clear about your life
except that all you've done
should add up to more but doesn't.
As if the planet stopped in its spin
and counterclockwise turned
and you are twelve again in a backyard
with the grass browned by the summer sun
while flies hover above a pitcher of warm lemonade.
It's too hot to play baseball and no one you like
is at home anyway: everyone's gone somewhere.
And your father's still alive in this memory
but won't be home till late
so you pick up a jackknife
and throw it at the side of the wooden garage
and it bounces off, unbalanced:
another thing you'll never get right.
You know there's a time
beyond this when apples ripen in the fall
and the sound of a football kicked in the air
and the crisp mornings, and evenings when
the harvest moon hangs so close it touches
the tops of the elms that canopy your street.
But it doesn't make it easier
this time warp this
gibbous swelling of the earth that sets the rhythm awry
so that you feel every ripple of the leaves
and lean back against the grass and hear
the tremolo of insects and know that the world
is floating out over the edge of space
and nothing is more remote than your survival
or less imperative.
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