By Todd Boss Todd Boss
A rung’s
come broken in the
ladder to the mow

and so one hesitates
to clamber up there
just to bomb a cow
with dung or bother
swallows from their
rafter cakes. It takes
a new footing some-
where in the ribs’
treads, about heart-
height, to climb it
now. A new gap’s in
the smile that smiles
from the limed barn
floor. There seems
to come a break in
the war. But soon, one
of a neighbor’s sons,
too young to know
it was otherwise once,
braves it, and soon,
even with a sweater-
swaddled kitten or a
BB gun, all the kids
can do it again, nearly
at a run, like pros, and
so it goes, as before.

Source: Poetry (November 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the November 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2013
 Todd  Boss


Poet Todd Boss grew up on a cattle farm in Wisconsin, and was educated at St. Olaf College and the University of Alaska Anchorage, where he received an MFA. Boss’s pared-down, idea-driven poems are propelled by internal rhyme and balance clarity with a nuanced attention to sound. “I think of poems as pieces of music, or a work of architecture,” he told the Utne Reader in 2009. “The poem is a space that you’re inviting someone . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Life Choices, Youth, Social Commentaries, Town & Country Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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