David Sloan

Skipping into the Dark

The tide's slipping out tonight. In the west,
Venus romances the grail moon.

My nine-year-old son stands silhouetted,
skipping stones,

their skittering making the lights across Casco Bay
squiggle in the water.

An hour ago, between bites of mashed potatoes,
we hooted at his younger sister,

who has learned how to hang a spoon from her nose.
Without looking up,

he announced in a flat-water voice,
I am going to die.
Only his sister could speak:  That's dumb, Ben.  
You're too little to die.

After each toss he cocks his head, listens
for a satisfying succession of skips.

I can't see his expression any more
than I can see the future,

cannot know what he bears within
his fluid frame.

I can only watch him stoop at the water's edge,
choose a glazed stone

and hurl it as far as he can
into the veiled night.

A graduate of the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast MFA program, David Sloan teaches English in Maine's only Waldorf high school.  He is the author of two books on teaching teenagers.  His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Broome Review, The Café Review, Carpe Articulum, The Naugatuck River Review, The Northern New England Review, Passager, and The Prairie Wolf Press Review, among others, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.



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