In the park, someone’s playing a Hammond
under a white canopy, thirds and fourths
in no hurry to return home. The blues
don’t take you home ‘til you’re good and ready.

In ‘98 a tornado clawhammered the boxelder, the elm
we once climbed on a dare. I was long gone
in ‘98. My whole family had gone then
to other states. We missed the catastrophe.

The guy next door cranks on his lawnmower.
I remember the blazing shade, the girth,
the brown bat we chased out the kitchen door.
It clung to the maple all afternoon, black eyes open.

These blues aren’t my blues but I sing along,
watch the neighbor pace up and down, tighten
the arc nearer, nearer his trees. From this
distance all disasters are beautiful.

About the author

Athena Kildegaard's sixth book of poetry, Prairie Midden, is forthcoming from Tinderbox Editions. Her poetry has recently appeared in Prairie Schooner, december, Beloit Poetry…

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Issue 18 · June 2013

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