Saturday

by S. Thomas Summers
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, September 2008
Judged by Tony Barnstone


Sunlight contents itself
with treetops. Stones shawl
themselves with shade:

The boy across the street
has begun his chores: folding
night’s remnants–draped

over the porch light, the mailbox–
laying each on a bathroom shelf
above cotton sheets, lavender

towels. His baseball mitt
has been crucified, nailed
to a front yard elm that dangles

a broken swing. His father
has hidden the evidence, buried
a hammer in the sandbox where

ants have begun to carve their
tunnels. There’s work to be done.


I enjoyed the gorgeous language, "Stones shawl / themselves with shade," the folding of night's remnants, and the archetypal imagery of the poem--the baseball mitt crucified to the elm tree, the hammer buried in the sandbox. The domestic narrative seems transparent at first--the father crucifies the mitt to the tree because he wants the boy to work, do his chores, though it's Saturday, not a work day, and this dynamic of work against play is conceptually rhymed against the broken swing dangling from the elm (it would take work to fix the swing, but why fix the swing, if the swing is for play?) Still, I'm not quite sure why the hammer is buried in the sandbox. I'm glad it is, though. It seems that this is a poem whose logic might be more magical than rational. Perhaps I am attracted to the fact that the poem makes sense to me without quite making sense? --Tony Barnstone

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