Their sprinting footsteps thudded down the hall accompanied by teenage blasphemy so loud it shook the glass in classroom doors shut tight to keep our sleepy lectures safe.
I stumbled past my teetered office stacks of composition essays that argued all opposition claims were trussed with lies to stand there, phone in hand, for reckoning.
Instead, I saw Miranda and Jose, their thin and perfect bodies smashed against the free speech board, a frenzied swirl of tongues as if they sought to grind themselves into
one spit-slick animal in skinny jeans. Sweaty, shaking, I faced the corridor. Dust motes orbited shafts of autumn light that streamed through squares of window glare
where the custodian glanced up to grin and wave, nonchalantly polishing the sill. For one more day, no skulking gunman lurched to spray and consummate our wide-eyed fall.
The Blacksmith’s Daughter
for Richard Furrer
Beyond her dragon dream she feels the hand, her father’s, palsied, tussle her to wade into her turn. She wears no furs to work both bellows on her knees, her spindly arms pumping shushes into the oven’s rage. A year ago she choked on every face that floated from smoke and masked the stars until her brother shoved her back to sleep. Now she breathes his face, flame-born, unspoiled, as it was before the drooping pikes drug it across the moor. Ulfberht. The crucible’s snug clay womb. She blows his spirit back against the glowing dragon-jaws. Her hands begin to wake a blade to cleave through seas.
-- Adam Tavel is the author of Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press, 2015), winner of the Permafrost Book Prize in Poetry, and The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry, 2016). His recent poems appear, or will soon appear, in Poetry Daily, Oxford Poetry, Crazyhorse, and Tar River Poetry, among others. He is a professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College and the reviews editor for Plume. You can find him online at http://adamtavel.com/