Poetry: Scenes From A Childhood | clivejames.com
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Scenes From A Childhood


Untouchable, the storm cellar door, its tin a pane of fire.
Long into the dark it’s warm.


Little things live in shapes the stones weep:
blind worms, grubs like thumbs, roly-polies
rolled up in their stonelike sleep.


The ant an aimed light cripples into ash
is lifted by the luckier others,

borne down
the eyeless socket in the ground.


Light wind pricks light across the dark tank.

An engine of insects hums in the cattails.

A sandhill crane stabs its shadow.


What hand moves the clouds?
To what touch do they come so slowly apart?


It does not end, the dirt and the distance and the seared air.
Stare and stare

and even crows become the light into which they fly,
that pulse of false water where the world becomes the sky.


Is it painful, the locust leaving itself?
Is that what in the briar of night they sing?

How hard to the highest treelimbs,
to the toolshed and shut doors at dawn
their likenesses cling.