Michael Macklin


The night Bobby Inch died
my father came home wild-eyed and crying.
A cattle truck charging through the dusk
caught the paper boy high on its horns,
threw him breathless to one side.

We wore the same shirt that day.
In flashing reds and blues,
my father saw the shirt, still
against the blacktop.
Felt me slipping from him.

Seeing Bobby’s face,
some other father’s son,
he raced home to rage and rant
and hold me, looking deep
into my wide open eyes.


Before Coffee

Every morning the dark-robed crows
congregate in the pines at the edge of my yard
sitting in small groups grumbling
until I step onto the lighted porch.

They grow quiet as monks,
cock their heads and mumble,
perhaps in Latin
and we share an early prayer,
a magnificat for another day.

All winter we have met here at dawn,
wind fluttering their black cossacks
as they peer down their noses
to view me at my lessons.

For the moment we inhale the crackling air
until they rattle with impatience, cackle.