Why do I think of you two, now? This hot day and your bones in cool loam so long, it seems. You, twins and I, a third musketeer as we careened through hot summers before. Working . . . drinking. You taking me from white bread to fry bread. I hear the council drum. Working . . . drinking. It’s concrete work. Building a bridge. Old man Bultman driving us like slaves that summer hot as this. Working . . . drinking. Week-end pow wow at Shawano and I, dating your sister. Your dad, old Esau, quiet. Liking me O.K., ‘til then. And my ma - looking pretty liberal, ‘til then. And me, backing off. Less work . . . less drink . . . less sister. And she to Alaska and you working . . . drinking – earning so early your places to settle down in the cool of the earth. And I, unable to hear the drum, do not weep.
It’s not like I know you or anything, but right now, I’ll bet you’re hoping this is going to be the kind of poem that talks about riding in the back of my daddy’s Ford pick-up, or the kind of poem that’s about the peculiar odor of my maiden aunt’s bedroom. I’ll bet you’re really hoping this will be about the way autumn leaves remind me of love in the woods, or the way lying in a hammock with you would be perfect (but, as I said. it’s not like I know you or anything). And, ohmygod, I’ll bet you’re really, really hoping this is NOT a poem about the horrors of war, because where in the hell is the poem in that? Perhaps you’re hoping it won’t be a poem at all, maybe it will be a church bulletin or a discount store flyer and maybe it won’t be the poem that mentions wars and death and bad presidents and shining prostheses.
Ralph Murre is the author of "Crude Red Boat" and "The Price of Gravity, both books of poetry; author and illustrator of "Psalms", a book of poetry and art, co-author, (with Sharon Auberle)of "Wind Where Music Was", a book of poems of experience, and he is editor/publisher of several books of prose, poetry, photography, and drawings from Little Eagle Press, which he founded. Ordering information for these books is available from
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