Ann Arbor Review


Chris Lord
Joseph McNair
Karyn M. Wolven
Geoffrey Philp
Paul B. Roth
Duane Locke
Silvia Scheibli
Shutta Crum
Felino Soriano
Steve Beaulieu
Donald Hewlett
Alan Britt
Joanie Freeman
Mervyn M. Solomon
Jerry Blanton
Marilyn Churchill
Running Cub
Mukul Dahal
Alice Paris

Helen Losse
Fred Wolven




Just a black tire
hanging like the bob of a pendulum,
on the long rope, hung by my Grandpa
from the sturdy Kentucky Maple.
Not radial, puncture proof,
or white walled,
just an old thin tire.
A nineteen-twenties tire
with a name like Akron or Dayton
and big around, so I could get
inside to swing,

At five I can reach it from the ground.
Just kind of lean over into it,
push hard, lift my feet
and swing on my chest,
or twist the tire around.
so when I lift my feet
it's like an amusement ride
spinning and swinging at the same time.

I'll bet Daddy used to swing high, grab a leaf,
then swoosh down with the wind messing with his hair.
But, only after chores,
like feeding those hogs near the swing.
That mother hog taller than me always
has her snout in the slop trough, grunting for more.
Of lifting chickens to get eggs.
I sure wouldn't stick my hand under a squawk'n peck'n chick'n.
Or milking yesterday.
Carrying the bucket of the fresh warm milk for Daddy.
Half way to the house, a cow comes from behind a shed,
With haunches moving up and down.
head low, and big eyes and shiny nose
staring straight in my face.
I stopped she didn't.
I dropped that bucket and sped away.

Becky the mule, pulls the single blade plow in the tobacco field.
Grandpa in his bibbed overalls, work boots, and straw hat,
With reins over his shoulder, shouts "giddyup, gee, and haw,"
pushes and pulls the plow handles, digging
big clumps.
I follow him and its like walking moon craters
stepping over or on the clods.
So I stop helping with this chore
and went back to swinging.

Last night I sank deep in the feather bed,
almost needing a periscope when
Grandpa came in to put on a nightshirt.
Turning up the kerosene lamp.
He took off his bibbed overalls
Oh my!  Grandpa doesn't wear underwear.

This morning Grandpa calls me for another chore.
I leave the tire and we drive corduroy gravel roads
to the cemetery behind the Baptist Church.
Back and forth he pushes the hand mower
leveling the plot of grass reserved for him and grandma.
A marker stone already standing like a guard.
After pulling weeds we drive into Hanson
and buy two bottles of Orange Crush
wet from the cooler water with chunks of ice.
That cold liquid tasting like a whole week of sweetness.
Grandpa introduces me
to the storekeeper as his best helper grandson.
I shake his hand with my proud chest bulging
like helium balloon ready to burst.

Home again, sitting on the mower,
like he is driving a harness buggy
Grandpa calls "gee and haw"
to Becky, and cuts the front grass
back and forth.
My chore over, I go back to swinging
back and forth, on the tire.

with Christine

Except for us, with
fingers entwining
on the beach
then at the table,
Sand Lake is alone.
Only for that single crow,
on the far side,
birds and fish are silent.
You say you could write
all day in this place.

And my mobile home
anchored to the cement pad
still stands,
surviving heavy winter snows.
Even the mice haven't entered.
Though new chains are needed
to fix my name sign
downed in front.

Then smells of ozone from the dam's
humming electric transformers and
musty loam from the damp woods
follows us down the fisherman's walk.
One hundred, seventy-seven steps down
to Tippy Dam's roaring white water
cascading over
the rock weir where
anchored fisherman cast.

But you, you are absorbed
in the trickle of water gently
oozing out of the rock strata.
Sliding down to the river
on stone it has worn smooth.
We take pictures.

Back seventy-seven steps up
an almost newborn opossum,
no bigger than a hand,
tries to climb high stairs.
It stretches
we don't interfere.

The old Oak Grove Tavern
has cold beer
and still on the ceiling is
money with dated names.
A tack piercing the president
weighted with a silver dollar,
is thrown at the ceiling,
only the silver returns.
And we take chance
on the Flea Roast Ox Market raffle.

Donald Hewlett, Ann Arbor


Ann Arbor Review   |   Home    |   next  |  previous Back to Top