Steam rising from the steel slit of the whistle’s mouth.
Shuffling feet, tin heels. A water tower on stilts, a ladder
to the grain silo. The spiteful truth is waiting
to be labor-smacked, the working class
proffers chicken flavored milk bones
to the family dog, when the family is off
on holiday: a meadow: a beach
with green sand: algae, dandelion pressings
to separate journal pages – is that enough? No-
one suspects the daddy-
longlegs of its reputed poison, we allow him
to crawl along the pink spindle of our turning wrist, a skein
of his impossible path. We watch the sun sink into the lake,
our backs pressed against the fence of our City
Alderman’s summer cottage, white and picketed,
swollen where the tide has picked away its skin.
He, crawling through hair; we, picking willow reeds
to press between our thumbs and whistle.
When it is time for fire, time to find dry sticks and whittle points,
we pinch our poor daddies by the end of their long legs,
pluck them like daisies – keen enough to ask for love
with each amputation, young enough to feel truly indifferent.
Second Place Winner, Eye On Life Poetry Contest 2011-2012