Embrace by Janie StapletonPoecology
Issue 5

Bill King

Burning Inside the Glass Rim of the World

Through honey stripes of August light long in the pines,
Sumter’s dogs fly for two boys topping out their ten speeds
along a ridgeline striped gray with gravel. They pump hard,
until a man from some porch beyond the grove bellows
and the thin-legged hounds, as if chained to his word, pull up
short, point noses high, and stand plumbing what’s left of our dust.

We shoot past them as if steering bright new kayaks into the narrow
gorge below—red beating blue around the bend and down
the chute—and that is when I see big brother rise out of his seat,
and with green eyes singing shout something over his shoulder
I cannot possibly catch: wind rushing like water in ear, legs and lungs
aflame and burning everything in our wake—the pines and the cows

and the corn leaves, their brown tongues rasping ruin as we pass,
as we take the long, slow curve into that narrow valley for good.
We stand high on our pedals then, bodies abuzz with speed and heat
and light, before gliding by the same little metal row of neighbors,
nailed to the same swaybacked plank, their moon-straight flags
all fallen now, their thin prim lips slammed shut for the day.