by Grant Clauser

It’s true my father came to find me
standing nearly in tears in a cornfield
one October when I was 9 or 10, fresh
tracks of the combine still soft
and the bony stalks broken into angles
like rows of skeletons resting
with their knees pointed at the moon.
The night before the corn still stood
tall, and older boys filled their sacks
for Mischief Night before the farmer
harvested it all for winter feed.
I missed it, stuck doing homework and chores.
Father didn’t approve of tick-tacking
neighbors with hard-fisted corn,
but he believed in a son’s need
to roam in the dark with friends,
to feel the cool night without parents
watching, and so he crossed the small woods
between our house and the farm, helped
me pick through the battlefield of scraps,
deer watching quizzically from the field edge,
until I had enough to launch a siege
on every picture window in town.
We lurched our ammunition back home
in silence, tearing our pants on barbed wire,
and me swearing to myself I’d never tell a soul
how my father helped a lonely kid
make mischief, how he carried half the load.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 4.

Grant Clauser is the author of five books including Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven (winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award) and Reckless Constellations (winner of the Cider Press Review Book Award). Poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Cortland Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Poet Lore, Tar River Poetry and others. He works as an editor and teaches at Rosemont College.

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