Saddle Ridge

Two boys ride their bikes
from one corner to another across the north field.
The realtor had told us a local church owned the land.
It’ll never be built on, she promised.
And at least for now it hasn’t been: a vacant rag-and-bone lot,
God-made for weekend racing.

The boys are maybe ten…twelve?
They fly off the field too fast to compare.
Nothing in their lives will ever again be this uncomplicated —
the gentle slope of it, the trail rubbed to hardtack,
the blood oath company of boys,
and down the block, a pirate map of streets
with names like Campfire, Horse Soldier, Medicine Man.
Familiar home-ended streets.

Years from now, too many years to see,
when they’re a little worn themselves,
and divorced in one way or another from their deep contentment,
this will seem like saving,
a possible grace.
Mild October, the air whistling and racing,
and their sharp shouting rising
like seagulls on a sunlit sea.

Paint Pony

The little straw hair boy climbs on,
grabs an earful pink and blue,
pats her neckful clotted cream,
shiny even in the darkish,
shiny even in his dream.
No dad! (Come, we’re going home).
He knows it isn’t real a pony,
knows in ways the opposite of horse,
planted by the sand
on three-inch pipe and
only bobby, bobbing only,
idea of moving painted like a horse.

(Of course we must go to Gran’s —
hold while I put your shoes on.
Justin, hold!)
Him in bowl shape sweaters turned,
mittens tethered to his wrist,
but all he thinks,
and all his thinks of flying
painted like a horse.