O! Manic Youth

I pray for winter. Summer is fat
and beyond repair. It hardly rains —
children on bikes, on swings
bite the wind. Children eat sky
from trampolines, take
clumps of it in their fists

And fall back on their fevers
laughing, yet to learn
the full heft of sag. O! Manic youth —
you’ll throw your greasy chain.
Will it be cottonwood or cloud
that litters the yard come Autumn?
Who’s to know.

When I see children, I see cruelty,
decay and brown ache tumbling
from its stem: the rake,
the shovel, the whine and drag,
some lean deer breaking corn
by the grain bins, the short hex
of old cloud on my tongue.

Soon they’ll be shuttered
in winter’s dry heats these children:
cold-sore, chapped, their bikes hung
carcass from hooks in the ceiling —
like those old men that trim hedges, weed,
sip ambers and broth, wait for snow —
like those old women that pry
ticks off their backs.

Image: Ronaldo de Oliveira on Unsplash

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