‘Kings in the Corner’

April 28, 2014

Your later ripped flannel shirts and papery hands

belied your early strength as a firefighter.

Clapping out blazes, heaving coughy infants

over your shoulder, getting your name in the paper,

back-braced and finally making it to captain.

Your five children surrounding like brittle pedals

and you the holding center, the master crop,

though humility and rosaries bound you to serve.

In projections now, we see the smiling Earl

at a bean pan on the stove, pulling switches in the basement,

fetching his nightly get — Genesee beer,

American-red and pop-top — and sinking in

the orange armchair drinking eleven’s news:

the king now in the corner rests at ease.

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