O Night Divine; Take it Like a Man

by | Jun 9, 2020 | Issue Fifteen, Poetry

O Night Divine

Straight-shot past sunset—no tolls, no gas, no pissing, camels

for two hours with the kids asleep to talk about our life

until the 10-year-old wakes, insists on Christmas music.

It’s Nov. 26th, but we find it more easily than we avoid 

weaving semis & cars with more than three stickers, 

our test for madness. The road ahead with Josh Groban,

singing All oppression shall cease, a defended future 

no one believes. Then Whitney sings—the same title,

but is it the same song? When she scales, stratospheric,

or glides with the lyric, & we’re hurtling with her, 

pushing 80 down a highway paved by the dying class,

witnessing the miracle she grew sick of, the voice 

in the garden not recognized until exile was no surprise. 

Mercy upon her & the doomed star she followed

to lose her gift. In faith, every time she sang, she flew 

up the ladder to tell us what it looked like, to dream of 

better days when we’re in the desert. She took a picture.

Take It Like a Man

Are there any rules in this house? The girls’ guest 

asked, seeing fists of chocolate, toxic nail painting, 

an eight-year-old turning gas burners, 

the swingset slide I angled off so the kids fly.  

She saw the snow we packed by the stacked cord, 

so sleds dent our neighbor’s fence. 

She didn’t see the wolf mask I keep in my closet 

so each Halloween, I don’t need a new costume, 

but she can if she returns. If she makes the cut, 

she’ll learn the yard’s pitch & the game 

the girls created where they take turns not flinching 

for a sister to whip a cord through the wind

& the tetherball at teeth. 

I ask them to tell me the rules, so I can write this.

My wife & my eldest laugh, There are none.

Don’t you know what the name of the game is?

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