The 2River View 16.2 (Winter 2012)

John McKernan

I Am Here for the Day in Subiaco, Arkansas

In the graveyard where Frank Stanford
Has been for a long time

This is where he designed the shield
For Jean Cocteau to wear
In Frank's unfinished silent film Our Sun

Down the grassy dirt road
Across the lane
From the Academy
And the Benedictine Monastery

A beautiful young woman
Has pedaled her bicycle to the edge
Stands Then kneels for a half hour
Beside what seems the newest grave
Praying the gold rosary in her hands

She is crying
Mounds of thick flowers
Still fragrant in the warm air
There are golf balls everywhere here
I like that she is praying
On the outside And also On the inside

My Greatest Crimes

Were at the Walt Whitman Birthplace
Near Huntington Long Island

Where I walked impudently across the lawn
With its large sign

Where I ignored the small warning
In front of a shed
Full of hand tools & power mowers

Inside which lay chunks
In cool sunlight
Of bright green sod
One of which I snatched
And stashed in the trunk of my car

All of which I planted
At different places
Around my yard here
In West Virginia
Driving away I stopped my car
And picked bunches

Of dandelions beside the road
If I had seen a lilac shrub anywhere
I would have ripped
It from the earth with my bare hands

John McKernan has retired as a comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University, where he continues to edit ABZ Press. His most recent book is Resurrection of the Dustcontact