V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Closed in glass in freon in the soft low purr
of air a boy drifts in and out of sleep aware
and unaware that he's been staring for hours
as children on the edge of 80 toss meat-scraps

to strays that yap and paw or growl—
dance in dance off—one dog nips
the heal of a girl whose legs outgrow
her little dress over and over as the car creeps

forward. Some day the boy will remember it
sexual, romantic, a continual and unending flash
of white at the hem of an outgrown skirt—
the slash of dirt that seemed to travel up

a thigh forever calling like a road suddenly
open beyond all accidents over and over
in the quick-step and clatter of heels
on asphalt or a long predatory look

of hunger.  Boxes of food spill and scatter—
freeze dried, fast frozen, microwavable,
precooked—their scents sealed off
from weary drivers who sit and

wonder at a breeze come strong enough to tip
a twenty-ton truck into their path
and wonder where that wind is going—has
gone—having no suitable frame for a thing that

moves each time you grasp it and moves on.


© by Joel Peckham


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