Across this village green, a cool evening in July–
The band is playing; we’re humming and singing,
nodding our heads and patting our thighs.
We’re sprawled on tattered blankets and quilts,
folded into lawnchair wings. We have grapes,
potato chips, sandwiches, cookies, cakes,
clandestine plastic cups of beer and wine.
I hear you.
The fiddler wears a hat to hide his horns–
no mere human could play like that;
the rusty-haired penny-whistler could be
a satyr, or Pan himself, secret goatfeet
tucked away in respectable shoes.
Are banjo players always lean and sardonic?
I am a sucker for bass men, and this one
has an indigo voice, shoulders like a fortress,
a smile that makes at least one post-estrogen broad
believe there’s still something in there after all.
I hear you, I keep hearing you.
It’s been a long time.
Bare-legged boys with sticks are stalking
around the lighted Christmas tree–
a Christmas tree in July?–
and girls run and tag and slip in their flipflops.
The band is drumming now, wild Irish drums.
Tiny children in long dresses or diapers
bobble up and down in time.
A woman is dancing with her dog.
My husband leans against my knees;
my sister slices watermelon, brother-in-law thrums harmony.
The moon, nearly full, rises above blue trees
in a new star-studded dar, and I hear you.
I hear you–yes–you–
with your arrows and thunderbolts,
owl on your shoulder, golden apple in your hand,
your corntassel hair poking up through the dirt,
your breasts and hips big as Earth.
Right now you’re singing “Alberta Bound”
at the top of our voices, clapping your thousand hands.
You’re here, where you’ve been all this time,
running in your flipflops, dancing with your dog.
You’re cutting watermelon, leaning on my knees,
lighting up that improbable tree,
smiling down from the tilted summer moon.
You’re telling all the stories, old tales of the road–you–
standing under that spotlight in your goatfeet, horns,
shoulders wide enough to carry the world.
Published in Bellowing Ark, 2006