Winter 1960 • Vol. XXII No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1960 |

Boy Asleep

Nudge me to sleep: I cross the beds in rows Where nothing grows, and between head and foot I travel with the wind, then stick like soot. And in a shadow where the hunter went Stands my grandparent polishing his gun He kept to keep the black bear in the woods, But fired between the hills my mother went. The black bear rose one night and cornered him When all the country darkness tucked me in. But I came up like green corn in the springAnd sprouted ears and helped my mother keep An eye in each potato that we cut To keep a current coming from the source That satisfied an infant when he sucked. He kept the shotgun on a kitchen wall, The shotgun shells above it on a shelf; Grandfather's clock would stare me in the face. Its hands were in the air and asked for help. I leaned against the kitchen wall and heard Somebody coming up the cellar stairs. But I was on the back porch when she came And cocked the gun to keep it on the floor And kept the gun from kicking me out cold By leaning on

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