Robert Rorabeck

Bronze Star - 2,238 Points (04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

Toward The Finish Line - Poem by Robert Rorabeck

Quietly, quietly swing my stick
While the mist is whistling, while the school is still
And all the kids that will enter here in are back in the
Tiny little ballrooms of their social classes,
Except that the prettiest of them has been given over
To the crenulated back of the alligator who waited
For her all after midnight,
Like some lazy whirligig fallen off the truck as the fair
Was leaving;
And she can be all somnolent, like the breath of a deity
In the wind blowing;
Something really old and turning out- there she was,
Seeming to float, blind to the swings and slick,
Silver amusements,
Dulling even the moon: she went to her motionless lover
And put herself on its horny back, like Europa did with
And he slid smiling into the slick canal where never an
Orchid grew;
And I thought she would just go around for some times turning
In the grids that would confuse her of the sea,
But she never returned to the school-yard,
And I skipped class and slept for her in wayward cars like
Pine trees, and never learned the proper names for the sweltering
Flowers the Mexicans had planted there-
So eventually I graduated and left before the ceremony was over,
Like a fish out of his plastic bag, finally really breathing;
And ran through the parking lot my cap and gown streaming
Like a virgin in a vacuous library;
And I never found again where it was she disappeared into her dreamings,
And the ballplayers played, and the jockeys squinted on their
Toward the finish line that they were sure wasn’t a very long ways.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 25, 2010

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