Spring on Ripley Road

Knick knack, paddywhack,

Ordering the sun,

Learning planets sure is fun.

–Paul’s back-seat song

 

Five o’clock, first week of daylight savings.

Sunshine doggedly pursues night.

Pencil-thin, the naked maples cling blankly to winter.

 

James complains,

“It’s orbiting, not ordering.

 

Everything is an argument.

The salt-scarred car rockets through potholes,

hurtles over frostbitten swells of asphalt.

 

James explains, “The planets orbit the sun.

Everything lives in the universe.”

 

Sky blunders into trees.

A fox, back-lit, slips across the road

and vanishes into an ice-clogged culvert.

 

Paul shouts, “Even Jupiter? Even foxes?”

Even grass? Even underwear?”

 

Trailers squat by rusted plow trucks;

horses bow their searching, heavy heads.

The car dips and spins over the angry tar.

 

James complains, “I’m giving you facts.

Why are you so annoying?”

 

The town rises from its petty valley.

Crows, jeering, sail into the turgid pines.

The river tears at the dam.

 

Paul shouts, “Dirt lives in the universe!”

I want to be annoying!”

 

Everywhere, mud.

Last autumn’s Marlboro packs,

faded and derelict, shimmer in the ditch.

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