Monday, April 11, 2016


Real Life

It was a hot day thrown suddenly cool

By that hard rain, poured off the slate roof barn

When the boy was hit by lightning.

Standing safe, he thought, in the large doorway,

Eaves above him tapping,

Farm trucks shining up.

Big for his age, father’s overalls, watching things,

Whole complexion tan like pure maple syrup

The stuff he gathered with his grandfather and horses.

His old man and older brothers stoke and boil the wood fire,

Spend those long nights in the sugar house.

The way the light spills out of the small steamy windows

All over snow, dreamy in the valley.

Well a mean bolt came down from the sky to end that,

A splitting axe flying.

Water dripping smooth from the roof edge

Splashes onto his boots and cuffs,

Hayseed still itching his back,

Cows poking behind him in their stalls.

Need a light already it’s getting so dark, he thought —

Struck him from the forehead straight down

Cracked him open like nothing should be.

The family dog lay nearby on a broken bale

Like he has for 15 Julys,

Large head on his paws tilted and watching

Rain burning the ground.


Bob Arnold