by Ann Robinson
I rode the rope swing
high above the garden trees,
the touch of apple blossoms on bare feet,
and a small helmet of sun.

Back and forth
like a metronome
until the moon took over
and the front porch became shadow.

His whistle up the front steps,
and all matters stilled;
I fancied I could see
through my father’s skin, his brazen heart,

aorta of hungers,
skeleton of miserly bones;
oh, dread, but his hands I saw clear,
farm muscled and thickened with fields

that woke me, undressed me
in the blue night light,
my schoolgirl body rocking back
and forth high above the room,

hands that could shake my legs
apart, cunning and cold
that reached me high above this home,

no longer pain and the quickening
red, but the smell of blossoms
drifting from the clouds.

My hands straight up into the heavens,
nightdress floating in such blackness,
my feet touching Orion.

Ann Robinson’s book of poetry, Stone Window, was published
by Bark for Me Publications in 2014. Her work is forthcoming or
has appeared in many journals, including Atlanta Review, Chagrin
River Review, Compass Rose, Crack the Spine, New York
Quarterly, Nimrod International Journal, Poet Lore, and
Valparaiso Poetry Review. A retired legal clerk, she currently
owns a farming operation in Arkansas.