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The Swing

April 19, 2010

by Richard Jordan

Ramsdell scales the ancient ash behind
the woodshed, takes a swig of Jack then flings
the bottle high. An hour ago he watched
a blood sun rise through cobwebbed panes
by his mother’s childhood bed, his arm gone numb
from supporting her neck all night as she strained to catch
the banter of barn owls and coyotes.

He thought it would be easy, a token visit
to the vacant family farm then back;
but in St. Joseph’s his mother’s eyes had misted

as she told of an August day when she was
almost twelve, of how she pushed her younger
cousin higher and higher on a swing,
and how her cousin stretched small toes to split

a thunderhead. So Ramsdell teeters now,
reaching for a sturdy limb to hold
a rope, a tire, skin and bones,

and a failing woman’s final chance
to harness wind and sweep the earth away.

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Richard Jordan is a PhD mathematician who works as a researcher at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. His poetry has appeared most recently in The Atlanta Review, Tar River Poetry, Redivider, Two Review, and on the Verse Daily website.

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  1. Heather Reid
    April 19, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    What a beautiful poem, so moving.

  2. April 19, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Stunning. Achingly good.

  3. Dyan
    June 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Well done, Rich!

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