Sleetmagazine.com

Volume 11 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2019

John McKernan

A Sudden Gust of Wind

Knocked me To the ground today jogging

No I was not Drunk Stoned Praying Exhausted Woeful Lost

Nor was the ground Coated with ice or snow Pocked with rubble Slippery with mud or rain

No excuse Twitching I lay on the ground almost Laughing and watched Seed after leaf after petal after pollen grain Float above Then beyond my body

The Green Children

In the far suburbs the children turn green

They paint their fingernails emerald

Their tattoos glow darker shades of lime and juniper

The children talk without stopping of invisibility as an art form

They want to be heard

Balloons bursting Hands clapping Staccato

Fireworks at midnight on the patio

Layers of melody through mist in moonlight

Spring & summer terrify their parents the most

Eternal their calls into the blue shadows of twilight

Sometimes the white of a child’s eye will gleam

Not ever to be mistaken for house cat or puma

The children will never return as children

Not until the snow covers them Like the shell of a pea.

Reprinted with permission of the author. Previously printed in The South Carolina Review (Spring 2001)

John McKernan is now a retired comma herder / phonics coach after teaching 102 years at Marshall University He lives in West Virginia and Florida. His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review and many other magazines.