It was the blazing matchstick end
of summer. Black Angus waded
to shoulders in the mud-orange pond.
The katydids crooned,
and the baby grand reclined
beside my buddy’s Ford F-150.
Restless cicadas buzzed the keys
in hopeless flybys.
When we got half the piano
in the bed, you showed,
scattering gravel in your wake.
A nod served as greeting, then you
and your bulging arms headed to the tail end
of the grand, and in one stealth squat,
you lifted the upright over the lip
like one might raise a weekend suitcase,
and it was done. The Herculean feat.
You were young & angry & beautiful then.
With Hypochondriac Speed
The toe infection is first a plane,
a paper glider that floats from couch
to kitchen. Mostly effortless,
save a twitch here and there.
Then a remote-controlled job,
jolted by electricity, it zips and zings
at angles obtuse and right
from femur to clavicle.
Then a jet, any normal jet will do,
fueled by prehistoric shale,
rising from the earth
toward your excavated skull.
Benefits of therapy
are not obvious at first.
Say, the sun leaks through the blinds
in her office on a Thursday afternoon,
ricochets off her velvet bifocals,
singes your naked arms,
and you tell the therapist
how you feared you’d drown
during bob-the-apples at school
because you never could breathe,
and she takes you back to the swimming pool
where college undergrads gave lessons
and tossed you in the deep end,
and there you are, suffocating beneath
the heavy blanket of water,
but you get to talk for the first time
in twenty years, and you give the coeds
what for, and they apologize, and you
will never see the deep end again,
and now you are done, and
you go home and don’t say much
that day or the next, but it’s
the end of your kid’s school year,
and summer vacation commences,
and you know what to do
when she wants to quit ballet.
Dave Malone (he/him) holds degrees from Ottawa University and Indiana State. He is a poet and filmmaker who lives in the Missouri Ozarks. His newest poetry book is Bypass (Aldrich Press, 2023).