Your mother attempts to clear the bushes

A first infant taste of lunacy

that made me think I could jump the

4-foot porch over the thick hedge

into the yard, scratchless, blameless.


Kid, you’ll be jumping any day now.

You’ll get to know them folks,

them fellas, them naysayers.

You’ll see what I mean:


Always the wide- mouthed expressions,

always, “Are you serious, kid?”

when you come up bleeding

and mount the porch again.


But had you cleared the bushes,

toes in grass, knees unscathed,

family behind you on the porch, cheering,

that’s when you’d have given up jumping.


So anyway, what I mean is, though it

pains me to say it: jump. I still do.

With any kind of luck, eventually

we’ll both make it over.


by Lauren Shows  



“Free canoe. Not seaworthy.”

The ad suggested that it could be used

for a sandbox, a planter, decorative piece

but no one, not those you hated most

should peer out to sea from its unworthy hull.


“I will help you load it.” We made the call,

joking as we bobbed down SR 343

then pulled in, gravel skipping,  pack of dogs barking

and walked up in the dusk and no-see-ums hover.


We should have listened. The mosquitoes grieved

over a still black pond. We bit back laughs

as the red-faced man said, “Ain’t good for shit,”

and scratched his chin, days and days unshaved.


What else can we do? As the sound of water

enters our ears, our shoes, the pockets of clothes

we unmoor it from the porch, and the rain abides.

Step in. Hope the old man knew he was wrong.


by Lauren Shows  



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