Michael Boccardo – What No One Told Me About Autumn, Fable For Boys Who Chase Tornadoes

What No One Told Me About Autumn

_

__Why it boils over without apology. Why
lawns lining every home erupt

__in the night, fevered by some unnamable sorrow.
Why the sky hides so often, a blister

__I’ve fingered since childhood.
When it uses words like mercy

__and regret, I lose myself in the backyard
the way a match loses its grip on the dark.

__Here, between two pines, I might hear
what was once the gossip of sheets

__my mother snapped against a line,
father’s shirts pinned shoulder

__to shoulder, collars flared, buttons with nothing
to clutch. I think of the crickets who will later spark

__the air with their duplicitous refrain,
how I will follow them, barefoot,

__moss dusting my heels. And for what?
Tell me that if I look back now,

__I won’t see how each grief solders us
to the next: a house clapped shut,

__gagged, leaning into its hollowed bones.
Leaves, battered by wind, seized

__between the tines of an abandoned rake.
Their ceaseless falling. How they wait

__and wait to become tinder, then smoke,
then ash. How I cannot change it.

__

Fable For Boys Who Chase Tornadoes

_

Even from birth, it is said that sky bonds
_______with a certain kind of child. For instance, this one:
___his eyes like cellar doors sprung, each iris

a spiraling dervish. Bundled, his hair is the shade
of hysteria beneath a blanket’s scalloped hem — erratic, always escaping.
Think ash. Think vellum, or wool

raveling its dense skeins down his collar, curls
_______that will drag shoulders broadened
___by the eve of his thirteenth birthday.

Alone, he’ll cross lands flat as patchwork, drifting
_______east, the sun a spill of whiskey scorching his shadow
___against the earth. Over the years he will begin

to forget his mother, father, the debris
_______of their smiles as they waved goodbye,
___both arms buckled around the others’ waist.

He is left only to guess at the siblings
_______who may fill his place—a sister, all elbows
___and scraped knees locked around the siren

of a rusted gate, or twins, brothers
_______dirt-streaked and thundering through thickets
___of wisteria. In ritual, he still exists. Charms

strung at their throat, wrist.
_______For protection: clover bunched above windows,
___the splintered lip of a vacant door. Nights,

one small voice reaches for the others,
_______a leaf wavering across the room, Will the sky ever return
___him home? Can he find us on the map of his hand?

They fear the days blotted by clouds,
_______but know without a photograph this is all
___they have of him. Swab of cheek, shadow thick.

Lips a rippled cumulus splitting the horizon.
_______They hold hands, knuckles steepled, and recite hymns
___that tug at their throats like birds wrenching worms

free from an arid and unyielding
_______world. A world that trades prayers for magic,
___logic for spells.They have yet to know

that nothing is holier than the body, the atlas
_______of its undoing: skin, breath, bone. All of it dust
___blown into the pocket of a God they cannot touch.

_

__

(* What No One.. and Fable For.. was first published at the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund among the winning submissions of 2012. The pieces are included in Sassafras via a request from the editor.)

Edit:  “What No One Told Me About Autumn” is also slated to appear in Best New Poets 2013 (winter).

 _

Michael Boccardo’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Kestrel, Border Crossing, Weave, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Nimrod, as well as other journals.  He is a multiple recipient of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, and a three-time Pushcart nominee.  Also, he serves as editorial assistant for Cave Wall.  He resides in High Point, NC, with his partner and three tuxedo cats.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Michael Boccardo – What No One Told Me About Autumn, Fable For Boys Who Chase Tornadoes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s