Kevin Stein's Poetry

In March, where the Kickapoo Bends

I hope I die before I get old.
        � The Who

Three of us walked, though that
        was hardly all, down white-

tail path through bracken wood,
        oak and hickory, track

of elms disease had wracked
        and left to stand, bark peeling

from wood the color of bone,
        all home for woodpecker

and later sweet fodder
        for morel. Three of us

walked, though that was hardly
        all, down past a rusting

wood stove, bright heaps of glass
        and stone, the lone jack-in-

the-pulpit rising like sex
        after sixty. Three of us walked -

one who'd patched his marriage,
        one who'd found a job, one

whose wife and son had slipped
        cancer's grip � down through damp

folds of Solomon's seal,
        both false and real, through May

Apple's raised umbrellas
        and multiflora rose

someone's good intentions
        had made tangled pest, down

to the Kickapoo bend,
        a bluff of osage-orange,

down where bluebells bloomed
        ground to sky and our steps

flushed a chorus of doves
        whose wings burst feathered

laughter. Down where bells
        rang our silent thanks �

warm beer as explosive
        as middle-age we once

blithely swore we'd refuse.




Note: This poem appeared in Kevin Stein's collection Chance Ransom (University of Illinois Press, 2000). � Kevin Stein. Used with permission.