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September 8, 2021


Mary Rose Manspeaker

Like a slip n’ slide down to the valley

(Conjecture: I never had one, only saw the endless commercials)

there is a promising direction

Or is it like the fight back up, game of king of the hill?

Us, we had a hose and some grass and a good hard shove

In the snow, we shattered plastic sleds on trees

carved ribbons of them onto rocks

Some nyc friends now find it funny that the largest club at my wv high school was the future farmers of america

They missed days of school for soil judging competitions

I skipped gym to take the armed forces vocational aptitude battery

Skipped science too

Those friends found it less funny than I did

that I thought heavy military recruitment in high schools was normal until age 24

It was an easy half day off

Recruiters called my dad’s cell phone for years

I didn’t learn to be serious until age 26

(I currently consider this a moral failing)

The people who eventually enlisted

were not usually those obsessed with games of war

They had just never expected to end up anywhere

They used to climb the hill to my house

through the mud, through the snow

& following through the only motion I knew

I gave them a good hard shove