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The Box Kite

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The lift, the very lift and pull of it!
They’d wasted the summer morning,

father and son in the devil’s
breath of July—gnats wheeling

madly above the drive—pasting Sunday comics
across the struts, like the canvas skin

of a Sopwith Camel. Into the close-gnawn yard
with its humpback boulder,

they dragged it triumphantly, unreeling the twine
until the contraption yanked itself

from bald earth, high above
the matchbox houses on the verge

of woods and the sweet-smelling bog,
to a height where a boy might peer over the horizon

to Boston—and beyond, the ocean.
The son was my father. I tottered at his legs,

having borrowed his name and my grandfather’s.
They payed out the ramshackle affair

until it became a postage stamp. The line
burned a bloody groove into my palms,

the last time they stood at ease with each other.


Source: Poetry (September 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Box Kite

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