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The Curve of the Sway - Ronald Tobey

Curve of the Sway

swale of creek swell of green lawn rising mudded lips of clipped grass lick at water escaping ponds arch-faced rock inlet to corrugated iron culvert subterranean sounds resonate hollow under road thin film asphalt coats the curve of the sway no engineer designed this narrow highway through Tequesquite arroyo #8 crushed stone scattered on shoulders flung onto fairway carpets by spinning tires young mothers running errands in suburban cars struggle on the crown against the fling of centrifugal force single lines of chain swing in place of guard rails every 8 feet strung between 2-inch steel box posts through the country club golf course

ten bunk beds always on bottom would I fall off epileptic summer boys camp

screened window cabins 13 years old off medications one counsellor plays 33LP jazz

Louis Armstrong gravel voice Benny Goodman what is A Train tennis gang showers

night nude swimming mountain traverse Presidentials don’t urinate on flowers

“leadership” talks (what?) sex dating menstruation masturbation dance rules Camp Huckins girls

sailing two weeks training cove calm Winnipesaukee broads

twelve-foot sloop main sail jib raised on the mast center board down one hand on the main sheet other on the tiller friend on the jib sheet cabin buddy on ready seat strait to the high waves twenty mile horizon ride the crest slide the slough tack swing the boom shift the jib splash over the gunwale across the bow ride the crest slide the slough slap of wind raised spray racing racing hold the moment hold the moment

you grab a bottle of Windex wash the scanning glass on the Xerox machine where we make love claim the copies before the cleaning crew unlocks the office door

through the arroyo dip I ride my Honda motor bike God in the spark plugs angels on the brakes you on my mind blind curve car speeds across country club creek middle of the road collision course its tires screech I swerve onto the shoulder last sound four-cylinder engine high whine toward Prince Albert Street skate on ball bearings across the bed of gravel | traction | fails I fly toward steel links Honda careens plastic cracking metal scraping

I wake standing on one leg outside the fence how did I get here why did the steel chain not tear off my head hold onto a post other leg dangles loosely shoes flung fifty feet helmet in the water other side of the road bike dead in ER prep nurse cuts off my ripped jacket and slacks another washes away asphalt gravel and blood warns paints a painful antiseptic down my right side tracing cuts “Are you a teacher?” | does it say ‘stupid’ on my forehead? |

Ronald Tobey graduated from the University of New Hampshire, Durham, where he published his first poetry in an independent student literary magazine. After a professional career moved him around, he and his wife settled in West Virginia, where they raise cattle, keep goats and horses, a lab and a barn cat.

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