Soldier
(for Charles Ray Barbour)
 

by Shelby Stephenson

In the summer of '44 when I was six,
I heard a squeak
and saw one foot
poised
on the bottom step
of the high planked porch,
the neat khaki-crease,
his hat a tan wedge,
wide belt,
stride like the songs of the timeó
"Smoke on the Water," "Over There," "Atomic Power."



Field Poem

by Shelby Stephenson


Hit the mind another grunt,
force the hand,
undo the ear from the outer shuck,
the heaps of corn
piling up in the middles between the rows,
September peas, adrenaline...
voices up and down, narrow and wide cover an hour,
conjure forever.



Toddy

by Shelby Stephenson


Oh wizened face and eyes,
Uncle in the cups--
Megrims of damsels kissed,
caressed-My eyes squint to see
Which spirit's mine.