written by Jan P. Myskowski

Just now Gill cracked his long crop
And the chain snapped tight.
The oxen lunged forward,
And the massive oak log
Turned on its heels to follow.

Around the fair grounds some
Of the lights are flickering on,
The hub of the Ferris wheel
Defers to its neon spokes.
From the cattle barns the lowing
Seems to grow more urgent.

But in the half light
That still prevails,
Gill draws circles with his wand,
While the team and the log
Slide past another pylon.

The raucous night crowd begins
To possess the arcades,
The tractors in the pull arena
Throttle up, the tilta-whirl
Throws screams across it all.

Here in the teams course ring
The crowd is small but attentive.
The log lies still now by
The stone boat, while Gill
Calmly rigs the chains to
Roll it up.  The time keeper’s
Mark goes rightly unheeded.

The log rides high now,
The ox heads bob affirmative
Replies to Gill’s soft talk,
And as the finish comes
And goes, almost without notice,
There’s light enough to see
A yellow tennis ball
Still settled on each pylon.

NOTE: this poem, written by my husband, is posted here on my blog with his permission, though he grimaces at the thought. But since it is my birthday, he has permitted me to post one of my favorite poems that he has penned over the years. Only one? So difficult to choose. I hope to post more, if only one per year for many birthdays to come.

If you enjoy this poem, you can also find "The Weld Maker" published in Stories of Strength in 2005; available for sale at Amazon.

Or "The Yielding" in The Berkshire Review, Volume 7, Spring 1999.

Or "Buying Eggs at the Halfway House" in the Fall 1998 Mind's Eye, a Liberal Arts Journal published by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Or "Feeding Saltines" in The Recorder, Volume 30, 1987, published by Alpha Chi.