three poems by Timothy Gager

out with the cool kids

We began with seven ounce
pony-boy, Michelobs
in Gary’s old Falcon
when we weren’t playing
baseball or football
in someone’s backyard

We hurt when
trees popped up in the outfield
or the secondary;
the unyielding defenders
we ran into
full force because we
wore no pads—
played and loved
without fear
without success

There were no cheerleaders
to kiss at Mooney’s house
only bad habits
and the gritty aftertaste
as we out drank
those kids we always
wanted to beat

bull

We don’t know
we are alone at birth
after the cord is cut

and no one
really sees the sun
by staring
no one catches the scent
of fresh air
or can describe the taste
of spring water
no one
can hear the sound of a broken heart
in a china shop

We know
the sun is visible through a pinhole
remember the warmth on our face

and air is captured
in lifetimes of afternoons
or even when you hang a sheet

we know, water is pure
as a virgin
water won’t lie

and the sound of your heart
when opened is a beautiful symphony
as long as we remove the bull

we know
the chord was cut
our lifetime ago
we know at least that much.
when things go bad

Go to bed and sleep.
Wake at odd hours,
with the clouds at midnight,
in the same dark envelope,
you placed dead flowers.

You find yourself invisible,
unable to seal yourself in,
the flap, a safety device,
prevents you from darkness.

When you didn’t hear
the cry for help,
you think it’s like
the baby monitor quieting
after the infant died.

 

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