W R I T T E N · W OR K

P O E T R Y

LUKE IS ELEVEN

by Robert Ranieri, 1996

 

 

 Balanced on slender neck, head revolves at blue window,
sky blue on blue eyes.
Quick blink of filter lashes, then blue again, black pupil dot
immersed in blue.
Out there above tracery branches a black dot; the poised mark
of the Red Tailed Hawk.
Cast by the nose, a shadow curves along cheek where
prepubescent hair, blends the jawline all the way
back to the quiet mouth; but quick archaic grin
rolls out into a fragile ear. Such an ear predates a sculptor's drill,
where these quiet turnings and hollows echo with shepherd's song.

Stilled head pivots again, confronts the viewer.
An expectant face weighs a question about the larger sphere.

He swivels the old office chair in country store fashion, perhaps
to better remember those days when noisy wagons pass
lurching by, as horses, panting against restraints, are making
the narrow bend in the road.
Once a butcher shop was here, and Butcher Bean trundled
his wagon of fresh beef to market.

Luke's fingers wander over the worn quilt, a grid of maroon
and gold, with large patches of olive green.
He views the fireplace of stucco over iron.
Forged end irons stand in layers of ashes.
Numerous times we started the fire together,
remembering to recoil as mounting flames lit the room.
He speaks of solar flares and how the earth was formed.

Carved into the flagstone floor by the fire,
the legend reads;   'Agnosto Deo'

With daylight, the Great Blue Heron arrives.
Wings like sails lower him in slow motion.
Standing in the stream below us, immobile as in pictures,
his fixed eye awaits the next fish.
We stare too, afraid to move and loose this time, a presage.


 

 

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LAR