Monthly Archive March 2020

ByKevin Kuzma

Safe beneath my tree

Lying on my back
on the picnic table
in my grandparents’ backyard
I used to sing to the birds
in the high branches
of the catalpa tree
My grandparents called it the cigar tree
because of the long,
arching pods
that dangled from
the limbs
These appeared as though
you could pluck them
take a lighter to them
and smoke them
but I never tried
Their backyard
was almost all shade
with a little sunshine
for a courtyard area
and a brick fireplace
But I kept to the shade
that filtered the sunlight
and created a shimmer
when the wind blew the branches
It was almost like being underwater
at the bottom of a clear ocean
or fish tank
Sunlight shimmering
Leaves turning over white
in the breeze
I sang and sang
whistle after whistle
to the singing birdies
maybe the only walking creature
who paid them any attention
or realized they were there
I felt safe
and never once dreamed
the birds might swoop down
afraid of the interloper
interrupting their song
and peck at my eyes
my neck
anywhere that frightens or hurts
I never once dreamed
someone I didn’t know
might come walking out of the backwoods
and find me there
no more than 5 years old
blue eyes
and try to take me home
A little boy
dangling innocence
from the cigar tree

ByKevin Kuzma

Poor penmanship

Better than a padlock
or security alarm
is the garbled handwriting
with which I keep my journals.
Printed in faint pencil lead,
the words go
from margin to margin,
(crossover margins)
to the edge
of the notebook page.
Front and back,
the hard-pressed words
push through
to the other side
of the paper.
My dreams lean
on blue lines.
Each entry
gives confession.
Each entry
arranged by date.
You are welcome
to come read
them sometime.
You are welcome
to try
to make them out.
But you can’t.
They are hand-written
with intent.
A soul poured out
on paper
yet still cannot be read.
Any decent writer knows:
you give it all away,
day after day.
But there is that one bit
no one can get at.
No one can reach.
You keep it for yourself,
whether it is worth something
or not.

ByKevin Kuzma

On the way somewhere

Ahead, a car flinches as its brake lights slam red.
From nowhere, a hawk comes gliding across the country highway.
First, the two northbound lanes.
Then, the median of dead grass.
Then, the southbound lanes.
And finally, over to the bare tree branches at the edge of the wood.
The branches bend under its weight as it flutters its wings closed and finds its perch.
In a moment, the ruckus is over and the traffic immediately resumes its rush.
I drive on, my mind still in the tree branches and open air with the hawk,
looking down on the strange flow of machines.
Unbridled by laws, by lanes, by time.
Wild and free from the rest of us animals.