Issue 4:1 I Poetry I Stephen Roberts
Wind Blows the Grass Green
for my father
As far back as ten thousand years ago,
Indians living in southwest Virginia chiseled
The stone chert into arrowheads.
On Easter Monday, our group hiked up,
Twisted our orange ribbon onto limbs and trunks.
The night before, the Hale-Bopp comet rocked
My father and me on his porch.
Shrill mountain wind froze our hands
And our noses ran. Leaves hissed and whistled,
Limbs and trunks creaked and groaned.
Wearing only his shorts and Ray-Bans
The ex-footballer in trance
Hunches in his ex-tailback stance,
Head swung low listening to the radio’s static constant
As the pair of cocktail glasses
Lean one into the other in long grass,
Gonads hung low out of his shorts
Like knots of barbed wire, planes overhead
Too numerous for any to land, his thought process
Become a yellow yolk of sun breaking
Beyond the purple ridge, hoot
Owl’s wings drooped
Across the fence, Desist, he whispers,
Black-eared, bug-eyed and beaked.
Against the empty wagon’s steel-belted,
Wood-spoked wheel slumps a yellow, wet bale,
And on its top sprouted a lone oak seedling.
Every April, earth’s most innocent creatures perish.
Death stays the biggest cliché as my Jeep
Backs over the baby rabbit on my driveway.
Four young deer cringed at the edge of the shrub-wedged field,
Water lilies are void of any decorative intent
And bend to listen as my twelve-gauge annihilates
The baby snapping turtle my rod reeled in.
From the thicket, hook snared in its beak,
A great blue heron lunges upward.
If misery is a proxy for God’s mercy,
We will lose these oaks.