Hayden's Ferry Review

Porch Season


by Willie VerSteeg

There is a gold light in certain old paintings
That represents a diffusion of sunlight.
It is like happiness, when we are happy.
Donald Justice


On the porch, dusk tumbles in
like the urge to say something mean.
The boy loops his stick sword
at the drooping branches. What I mean
         when I shout to him is butchered
         by my voice raised over mock-butchery.

Green alone now, the tree has shed
its pink petals, lade in the neighbor’s wiper blades
like misplaced romance. Another April rain
has stuck them so, has slicked the blades
         of grass, growing faster now, newly mown,
         yet, It’s almost time for another mow.

He ignores me anyway, hacks some more.
Tom saunters up, walking the dog,
and stops to talk. He’s forgotten all
our names, but dawdles as his dog
         pisses on our grass. Finally, he leaves.
         My wife says, I thought he’d never leave.

Willie VerSteeg is a writer from San Diego, CA. His poetry and criticism have appeared or are forthcoming in The Jabberwock Review, The Southern Humanities Review, The Kenyon Review, BOAAT Journal, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Columbus with his wife and two sons, and serves as Poetry Editor for The Journal.