Ant Theology

I killed an ant today.
On the sidewalk did he meet
me there with my deadly feet
and taking one more step again
I crushed him with my foot and then
I looked and saw that I had missed
and saw that then the ant had twist
there ‘tween the tread upon my shoe
but now knew something was askew.

As he left his home that day
he could not have thought that may-
be he’d be running for his life
and hopeless, face a giant’s strife.
But now he knew; so I saw
him look at me with fear and awe
and hopelessly he dashed away
with speed that comes from stark dismay.

I killed an ant today.
And when the first step did not do
he hoping? perhaps that I withdrew?
but no, on him twisted my toe
and that then was the fatal blow.
Like twisting on a cigarette
my shoe then there made good its threat.

I killed an ant today.
If he spoke he’d asked me why
so wantonly he had to die
or say “I till soil” in his defense
but that would make no difference,
“I’m not in your house” well no,
“and I help all the plants to grow
and I don’t even know to bite
why is it me that you must smite?”

I killed an ant today.
Then looked at his body broken
thinking of his words unspoken
and what more was there to say?
I had killed an ant today.
I did not send my only child
to become an ant and be reviled
by other ants for all ants sake;
no sacrifice like that I make.
No, I had only killed an ant
an act of which I now recant
and something I was thankful for
that I had never thought before
but grateful then for this good thought:
that God was God and I was not.

Cold Hands

When I stretch my fingers
the circles of skin at my knuckles bunch;
knots in tree trunks which,
cracked and leafless,
tell me it’s winter.

Looking at yours
now too
aren’t you?


Like a child she holds her ticket in both hands
looks at the backs of people in the row ahead
their heads down to look at little screens
and my, she thinks, they look like they’re praying
bowed and silent and all in a row like in a pew

so she prays too
for G-32.

How I Saved the World

As I went out to save the world
I looked over my arsenal and looked to see which
twigs would work for triggers and having found something
suitable bounded into the ruins of New York City for you
see the alien invasion had taken over the eastern seaboard and
they had infiltrated all levels of our government because they
used mind control you know so that all that was left was me
and my band of soldiers but they had been all captured by the enemy
and only I had escaped by blasting through ten of them 
no fifteen! as I ran and now I was alone,
alone against them all but as I crouched as a convoy approached I
knew all I need do is breach their main ship and slay their king and
kill the head and the body would fall and humanity
would survive.

I hid behind the remains of the statue of liberty which
had been toppled in the initial assault and held onto my
gun my last friend, what do I call her
betsy? or was it bessie?  betsy, yes
Old Betsy, my gun, and I patted her and yeah
me and Old Betsy are humanity’s last hope and if we can
take this convoy that is approaching we’ll have a way
to infiltrate
Wait.  What was that?  Did I just hear someone talking?  No.  No one ever comes out here.  That was weird though.  I could have sworn I heard voices.  Was it a bird or something?  I don’t think so.  Oh well.
now I was saying if Old Betsy and I can find a way
to infiltrate the main base you know trojan horse style then
I’ll take them all on it doesn’t matter how many but first
to take down this convoy I’ll just flank the gunners 
before moving 
Man, I know I heard it that time.  There!  Someone laughing?  Who is that?  It’s over there.  Is that smoke?  Oh man.  It’s kids.  I think they’re teenagers.  Three of them.  Why are they out here?  I don’t think they know I’m here.  I gotta walk quiet.  Man I wish the ground wasn’t so dry.  It’s hard to take a step without leaves crunching.  I heard Tommy Murklins got caught by some teenagers while riding his bike and they trashed his bike and tore his coat and stole his DS.  Maybe if I just get real low they won’t see me and I can wait ’em out.  Oh man I wish I was home.  Why did I come out here today?  What are they doing?  I hope I’m not breathing too loud.  Is that crazy?  It sounds so loud to me.  They gotta hear me.  Are they smoking? I’ll just wait.  But what if they stay all night?  And then my mom will worry and she’ll call the police.  But then maybe the police will come and the teenagers will go away.  Man I hate this.  I hate it.  I just want to be home.  Is that one looking over here?  No.  Man my breathing is so loud.  I’ll hold my breath long as I can then take little breaths.  My coat is loud too when I move.  What if I have to sleep out here tonight?  Come on.  Just lie still.  Lie still and you’ll be fine.  Oh, no.  They’re getting up.  Did they hear me?  Stupid loud coat!  I’ll just tell them I don’t have anything.  I don’t have a DS I’m not on a bike they can rip my stupid coat I don’t care!  Fine!  Wait they’re going the other way.  They’re going away!  Oh thank you God!  Thank you!  Thank you God!  God thank you!  Man o’ man o’ man thank you thank you thank you thank you
were triumphant and for the deliverance of humanity to you
the ultimate commendation for the destruction of the enemy
and for valor and bravery in the field we bestow
now this medal for our unending gratitude for your service
and will always remember what you have done both you
and Old Betsy.           

War is Only Fun Pretend

War is only fun pretend
‘gainst robot alien invisible
but pain and fear of life’s own end
make fighting much more miser’ble

War is only fun pretend
with forts in trees and wooden toys
but blood turns into horror men
which played such things as little boys

War is only fun pretend
with running shooting leaping
and no real thing to need defend
and no consequences keeping

War is only fun pretend
when you can turn it off and on
and you decide when it will end
and you decide then too who won

Killer Soccer Goals

When I lie awake thinking
that someday I will die and
at night it seems so real not like
in the daytime with things to do and bright light and
in the day I could be old and sick and think
of other things I think but at night I hear my heart and
how if it were to stop for a moment! and
in a world with sharp edges and
plump skin holding my innards
so easy to pierce and spill,
what then lies dormant
hidden in-body to destroy me
that I do not even know?
What unseen assailant?  What microbe?  How
little things have to go wrong
for all my mechanisms to be undone.

And outward assailants too.  I hold my hand
against a wall
put my face against it too and feel how fragile I feel
and if it was the wall or me I
‘d be crushed.  And what order is there
none! so it seems
as things fly about and through us
and our skin serves as no armor ’cause see?
everything if it flies fast enough
is a bullet and we all live life dodging,
just try crossing the street.

Keep your head on a swivel kid.

When I think of how some act like they will not die and some
think in youth that they, well they think
no not them never! bulletproof.
well then I think of a day as a child when I was on a soccer field
and there at each end of the field
the goals were large and metal frames
hard like my face against the wall, only cold
because of the metal and one day we played
and no one tied the goals down because
everyone thought they were too heavy to fall over
but it was windy that day and one fell forward
like the arm of a mousetrap snapping shut
with a loud metal clang.

It did not kill our goalie because we were making a run at the other end
and he was out past the eighteen.
The left midfielder who advanced the ball may have saved his life.
And I still hear that clang at night.

List of memories

This is just for me to help me have things to write about

– being afraid in a theater before it starts
– burning a mattress in the woods
– scrounging change for a danish
– burying a can under a tree and digging it up 6 six years later
– crying because i wanted my mother in 3rd grade when i got dropped off at a new school
– hiding at the aj base
– being late for a wrestling match while the guy gives us a ride plows drive ways in the snow for money

The Plows

Four hundred calories in the last forty eight hours.  

It was around four thirty in the morning when I woke
and put on my singlet with my sweats over it and I saw
the snow on the branches out my window it was inches high
balanced as it was
so I knew down on the ground
it must be even higher.

And I walked down without turning on any lights and got my shoes
yes my shoes!
that my mother always told me not to wear except in the gym
but look, I don’t want to wear a pair and carry a pair
and I’m only outside for like two seconds
from the door to the car and the car to the gym.

So not to wake anyone and because it should be any moment
I just stood
peered out the front door and to think,
when I had gone to bed the world was full of color.
It was brown and still some green and the gray of the street
and the cars themselves and the houses too were all red and green and yellow
but now it was all white with black trim
just white with some edges of black and that was it

The plows,
oh they’d ruin it all!
they hadn’t even hit yet,
and it looked so level and clean with no tire tracks or footprints
like someone had just laid and leveled wet cement over everything
so it was a shame it couldn’t stay like that and the world
had to be lived in.   

Then I saw the truck come slowly
I could see it before I heard it
and he pulled in growling like diesel does
and the white exhaust floating in the air behind him like spirits
and I stepped out the door and to the truck.

It was not snowing now
and you could tell it was colder now than when it had snowed
because the snow was like creme brulee
with a crust on top and soft snow beneath it.
It was an awful trick because it soaked your pants up to the calf
and it left you walking like a drunk man that keeps
walking off a step he doesn’t know is there. 

So I walked and left holes, more than footprints,
and climbed in the truck and there was Dale in the driver side
and he looked at my feet in my wrestling shoes and said
“you didn’t wear boots?”
and I said “you sound like my mother,”
which I knew would bother him
’cause he was always trying real hard to be one of us.
He shrugged it off and I appreciated that he didn’t try and pull back from it
by saying something like “yeah who cares” but instead just let it go
but then when he started talking I could see why
it was because he had something on his mind.

“We should make it in plenty of time,” he started.
“It’s about two hours up.”
“And the first match won’t start until around 11.”
“Right.”  I’m hungry.

“So look, this is the morning I wait for all year.  This is the reason I bought this thing.” He pointed out his windshield at the plow attatched to his truck. “I can make a hundred and fifty per driveway.  I’ve already got them lined up.  Lined ’em up before it even snowed.  They said ‘when the first snow comes, do our driveway and it’s one fifty.’  And now it’s here and I have to do it.  I can’t do it tonight.  The reason they pay is cause it’s already done when wake up.  I’ve got six houses.  That’s nine hundred for maybe two hours, including drive time.”  He wasn’t asking me.

Here’s the thing:  I coulda got a ride from anyone.
Here’s the thing:  I was riding up with him like a favor so he didn’t have to do the two hours to the school in vermont alone.
Here’s the thing:  you get there so early because weigh-ins start at six and then after you weigh in you can eat and four hundred calories in forty eight hours.

But I shrugged and “fine” but I was hot you know
and I knew he knew because he had been on the team in high school
but his weight class had been heavy weight anyway and those heavy weights
they don’t know anything about weight
it’s like half the sport it seems and they never had any of it
with their eating and joking and standing on the scale in shirts
in shirts!
and they roll around like bears and gas out during sprints
and plow driveways on snowy mornings when you wake up at four thirty to drive there
and being hungry made me not care about trying small talk
and he didn’t care either because of nine hundred dollars
so we just sat there driving in the silent white world of four thirty on a snowy morning,
the plows ruining it all.