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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008 05:50 am

People's poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

Untitled Document grandchildpoem #6  
 
“surprise grandma don’t look!”
wyatt — five — leaps forward, a red blue black
spider-man girdled with a heavy leather
lineman’s belt its pockets crammed.
“the ax is for chopping down trees and
cutting people apart the dagger’s to throw
when people are going downstairs the
sword’s to fight with — my batman mask?
its eyes are lasers and the points kill people
when I’m dropping down from the sky
my skeleton glove comes off it’s to hold
people’s throats to strangle them oh the suit
it’s just for throwing webs.”
his grossly padded front blinks red  from a secret switch
“those are some chest muscles,” I observe
“those aren’t muscles they’re boobs not mine
just pretend!” — we both dissolve in laughter
his outfit is complete with pastel green
diaphanous wings feathered edges aglitter
“they’re what I fly with,” says wyatt. “I need
all my gear to hunt, to eat people do you
know that some people eat  people grandma?”

© Jacqueline Jackson 2008
Our earliest recollections are often imprinted in our memories because they were associated with some kind of stress. Here, in an untitled poem, the Nebraska State Poet, William Kloefkorn, brings back a difficult moment from many years before, and makes a late confession:
I stand alone at the foot Of my father’s grave, Trembling to tell: The door to the granary is open, Sir, And someone lost the bucket To the well.
Poem copyright © 2004 by William Kloefkorn, whose most recent book of poetry is Still Life Moving (WSC Press, 2007), illustrated with pastel paintings by Carlos Frey. Reprinted from Alvin Turner As Farmer (Logan House, 2004). American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. poet laureate 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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