THE HEART, LIKE A BOCCE BALL
The jack sits low in the grass. We’re dead drunk,
cannonballing across the lawn, gouging
handful divots, each of us still nursing
a tumbler of scotch brought home from the wake.
We sons and brothers and cousins. I spin
my ice and let that black-tie loosening
buzz swarm. The others choose the sky, looping
pop-flies that swirl with backspin, an earthen
thud answering grunts while the soft dirt caves.
I bowl instead, slow-ride hidden ridges—
the swells buried beneath the grass—carving
a curve, a line from start to stop, finish.
The heart, like a bocce ball, is fist-sized
and firm; ours clunk together, then divide.
—from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet
Luke Johnson: “Recently, I spent the summer living in a tent in the woods of West Virginia. Nights, I read poetry by headlamp: James Galvin, Elizabeth Bishop, Fred Chappell. Rain storms drummed tarps strung above me, and the poems joined those rhythms, those gales. I’d like to believe they’re equally necessary, poetry and rain, with the same capacity to ease and to overwhelm.” (web)