Volume 22, Number 3

Next Door

Gerry, his boss and once-good friend, takes him aside:
Cutbacks are coming, you should know.

The bill for his pickup’s new tires
breathes all night long next to his bedside lamp.

Our kids have everything, he hears himself say,
and almost as much bad judgment.

Mom Jensen still jokes a little: Pills or heat for winter—
blood pressure down but the propane gone. Ha, ha.

Hurt. Wants to. Someone, some day.
Won’t. Instead will get in the pickup and drive,

drive out County M till he finds them, the cranes,
the sand-hills, crazy with song on the river flats.

—Richard Swanson