At Seven
Jesse Graves
Every morning, morning’s measure: breakfast early, then play,
Flashing across the porch with cats or soldiers’ planes,
Their metal wings armed with tiny machine guns
And stamped with a Union Jack or the Stars and Bars.
The side yard stretched into the beaches at Normandy
Or else Fenway Park, baseball cards taking the field,
Pennant races played out with nickels and a wooden pencil.
The un-structure of summer days, as before the terrible
Arrival of chalkboards, homework, and long stillness,
Table and chair and child all bolted together.
What work there was involved the grass and a loud
Engine, its fumes turning circles in the nose and behind
The eyes, or an open pocketknife and strands of twine,
Straw-bales loosened and scattered over the seedling beds.

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