Words on Service

(for A. Kline, who told us 12th graders that "poetry is guts.")

Not for a time ––not always, but now.
Now the timid and dim itinerant days
have wilted to waste as the “idiot work,” 
Professor Sears once called my college major.

Now the comedy of bygone errors 
are all but erased. I face the new forts on the narrow:
the broken tooth windows in the witch grass;
the derelict sheaves of memories and dry wall
foamed at the mouths of Fordlandia’s houses of ruin;
old schoolyards ghosted with unkind tattoos;
children who’ve learned to read mirrors above grade level
––and little else;
and all this bedevilment (and more than meets these eyes) 
inspires neither tears nor terrors 
but an ardor to shoulder-up to lionhearts. 

For now my heroes are helpers:
the certain hands of compassion divining selfless hours.

For now my heroes are among us:
cohorts all ––shored by a shaken nature; assured for a time
until the palisades too are pawned
as a timberline.