William Klefkorn

If Only I Can Shake Off This Dream, All of the Others Should Follow

From Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems by William Kloefkorn Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.

I am back at the farm
talking to the man who bought it
the man who with his plethora of sons
is busy razing it he is a large gentle

man in his eyes the running feet of virgin
lumber the multiplication of studs
into granary and henhouse and barn
into house the product at last

what these busy strangers will deign
to call the home place the man is
impatient to return to his work
yet with the edges of his eyes

he talks to me he does not understand
that those small weathered hulks
were one day large enough for all of us
at the hands of his sons they are pasteboard

well no matter all I want is a little time
to stand for a final time some things
after all exist beyond the crowbar
and the sledge I am thinking of

rock and gumbo and bunchgrass
of the angle of the house against the hill
these mister and the water
that cooled cattle in the pond

just over there are what my nights
alas are made of and he nods
but he does not understand
he believes in the future the poor

demented bastard believes in the future
and I want to explode I want to bleed
and quarter him on the spot I want
to throw my arms around him

and crush him to the earth
and call him father father father

Reproduced from Swallowing the Soap: New and Selected Poems by William Kloefkorn, edited and with an introduction by Ted Genoways, by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2010 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska.