Monday, March 18, 2013

The Student

His homework late
as he pulls the assignment
out of his pocket --  and flattens  paper
creased from a long stay in denim

Overlooking the frayed margins
and ink slurred from a water spill,
               I begin to read, sense -

              There’s a leafless twig
              scraping our tent

              while dusk spills like powder
              from the moon's white horn.

             In the stream, a girl washes clothes

             where willow reeds            
           stand ragged, hiding what lies beyond.

He writes  through the young eyes
of a soldier hunched in loneliness
scribbling thoughts
on hemp cloth  that’s torn and stained.

His first draft
Has such an authentic look -- I wonder
If I should mock his intent
or praise a scene
from Thomas Quinn’s life
dated 1812

           and ending with ---

            Sleepless and cold, we could feel
            an Autumn  night
            slowly loading her hours
            into dawn.

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