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Poetry #65
(published Late in the Year, 2001)
by Melanie Kenny

The child builds the jump at night.
Plans taken from a yellowed clipping
of a man sliding down the icy tongue,
spit forward into the jump, arms back,
hat almost left behind—
an exclamation mark to punctuate his feat.

The wrench appeared in his dresser.
He stole the hammer from his uncle.
Nails, bolts, screws bought from gypsies
with miscellaneous coin earned
running errands for emigres.

He has no skis, just a small cart. Nothing
more than castors on a warped cupboard door
to launch him from the gate to the surely
more welcoming world below.

The boy knows he should shoot out into the sky.
Is the city blind to his momentum?
To his physics: f=ma? The future equals men airborne
who land silently in wintered forests.

from "Census," part II of The Floating City

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