Prairie Poetry   

1978 In Texas


There was a piggy jar next to a window
for the birds to see the wealth.  Took
the change no one else wanted, the change
dad didn’t seem to notice on the floor,
the beaten pennies and dimes on the road
in town.  Built up wealth for something,
a secret to everyone involved, coveted
by the dog sleeping below, by the fish
swimming back and forth in the tank,
by the turtle with fetid water, by the flies
buzzing the window, until one day, without
notice, it was smashed.  A bike ride across
the tracks, past the baseball fields, the insignificant
church with white paint, across the big road,
the forbidden road, to a 7 Eleven.  Pockets
heavy enough to ride the pants low.  A slurpy,
the cola kind. “Anything else, young man?”

“And a can of Copenhagen, please.”

“This for your dad?”  A look. “No, for my big brother.
I threw his out yesterday.”  A look.
A can.  A pile of change to be counted out,
counted out, the process of it all. Enough!
away from the lie, hidden by the dumpster.
Cut the paper edge with a nail. Open
and smell that hit, take a pinch, cheek and gum,
and spit like a pro.


Kirk VanDyke

  Copyright © 2007 Kirk VanDyke
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