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Christopher Apfelbach

Rookie (July 1,1990 / Burlington, VT)


It is sunset and I am
flying through the suburbs—
not running, as most

would be contented with,
but genuinely flying,
skimming over the parched

grass at a speed that
would strike a few of the
more sluggardly jackrabbits

green with envy.
Here and there I catch
an ambling refrain of polka

coming from the park,
despite the many miles and
mailboxes between us.

The suburbs have a strange
mastery over echoes,
and perhaps it is this

that conjures the band up,
singing the Alphabet Polka
like a troupe of merry revenants

while they endlessly perambulate
the darkening streets,
saxophones and accordions

gleaming dull and
unsheathed in their hands.
I encounter no one else;

the crickets are busy building
rickety cathedrals in the creek.
And this, I think, must surely

be the youthful fountain
that Juan Ponce de Léon
surrendered his life for,

this land of the final couplet,
the playground's elegy,
of white balloon animals

in the sky, where a man could
grow old and die without
the pitcher of iced tea

ever leaving arm's reach.
It is sunset in the suburbs
and I am flying through

a crucible of dreams,
skipping across puddles
and confluences of hope,

routine, frustration,
all the alchemical
byproducts of life

that I must inherit.
I lengthen beyond the horizon
like the arm of the wind,

and it feels for the briefest
of moments as if I have
brushed against some

passage of immortality,
against something we have

needed more deeply than
we could have ever known.

Submitted: Wednesday, August 29, 2012

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