Public Fishing Dock

By RALPH BURNS

We had to leave because someone saw my
father set his bottle down. Because
of something in us we leaned into one another
laughing like a murder of crows. My father
weaving in fluorescent light. Why
when you walk does mud make that sound
like I want that shoe, I want the foot, the boy,
the family ashamed? Truly
I have had dumb ideas.
When we walked to the car
I let out a whoop. And my father wore anger,
he fixed on it, the things he built were landscaped
by it. So he slapped hard. And the ringing
is a triangle. Steel and wand. Two in back,
one in front, our poles out the car window.
Our ignorance ringing under the leaves.
We were music, we were Brahms.
Third movement, fourth symphony.
Winding darkness down Oklahoma hills.
Our tires a choir, no talk, just song.

 

Ralph Burns has published seven books, most recently But Not Yet, which won the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry. He has recent poems in Image, Crazyhorse, Cimarron Review, FERAL, The Georgia Review, and (SALT). He lives in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

 

[Purchase Issue 23 here.]

Public Fishing Dock

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