I came to know one of the schoolyard mockers
The most important good thing is enchantment.
There are also spells and curses. You said things girls remember.
You said, “One round and one pointed breast.” Curses
Are a child’s skill, and
What you said then still shouts at a woman I know
In parking lots and smashes bottles,
Bellows on her phone and waits mumbling in a car outside her work.
As a boy you sometimes liked that feeling. I hated you.
You say now you begged yourself to stop blurting.
Late spring, after two years of university:
We drink Scotch by an oil drum of burning sawdust and pallet scraps.
We’re cold unloading boxcars in your grandfather’s lumberyard: orange flames, wet denim, campfire-coloured plywood in the rain,
Slippery planks, cedar and pitch on our clothes,
Creosote on our hands. Your remorse is the door to the world.
You were happy unloading lumber.
Ham and mustard sandwiches, apples and whisky in the yard,
Splashing your face and combing your hair at the tap,
Wadding your pay, kissing the money,
You were eager…
… And so am I, remembering the joy with which you began to become
One of the willing,
As I am one of the willing horses.
Paul Anthony Hutchinson