To Bear Bryant, Somewhere on that Taller Tower

From Inklings: Poems Old and New. Sandhill Press, 2001.

In innocence the lines of our palms
are never longer, the blue that the sky
brings to us is always out of our past,
and the most important rivers run out
of the smallest glands in our lives.
So much for truths. This morning
the neighbor’s laughter spraying over
the fence makes each leaf shine,
while his dog, upside down, is wriggling
his back into the density of this world.
No ideas but in things, another old coach said.
This morning finds the apple trees in flower,
the sparrows in the gutter, and the big-
boned Slavic girls on their way to work.
And my neighbor’s boy with a football
calling his dog in the heaven of his own backyard.
Bear Bryant, if you’re listening, look down.
Oh, the way the football flies just so,
like cardinal between the red bud and the pear,
over the sensual mouths of the poppies–
look down, Bear Bryant, look down.
It’s spring practice time, and the leaves
of the dandelions are speaking long and longer vowels.

Used with the permission of Don Welch

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