[The earth launched up one summer]
The earth launched up one summer
two generations of cicadas like fireworks from the fields.
He took the kids out with sticks to the dogwoods
where they swung at the buzzing droves
& when they missed the white flowers scattered,
the petals all over the grass & in their hair
but always, he said, with one eye down the hill.
He said from time to time I turn my back
on the sun. What a wise man does is distrust his very shadow
& keep the horizon in sight, expecting always death
to rise in the shape of a man from the dirt. I remember
he ate armed & kept Stonewall saddled behind the barn.
I remember you couldn’t walk those months
without a crunch beneath your feet.