POEM OF THE WEEK: I Place My Ear to the Ground of Congers

BY HARRY WAITZMAN

and listen, no sound but ants
crawl on my head and tickle.
I feel the vibrations
of a Baldwin steam engine
pounding rails,
all brass and whistles.
The blue-capped engineer
waves to me, the fireman
crouches low, shoveling coal,
seven hours to the yards in Buffalo.

I lie back and swipe mosquitos
A rowboat sleeps, water up to the gunwales…
oars moved like pickerels under lilies,
waves lap the shore in easy movement.
Frogs and sunfish wiggle into sight.
I squash a bug. If it turned out to be
a hornet, I scoot to the water
for cooling mud to take the pain
out of my mistake.

I try to counterfeit coins,
placing old pennies
on the track, and wait for the press
of wheels to make them nickels.
I become an airplane over the meadow
and soar and glide to haystack landings.
I suck on timothy grass toothpicks,
spit green and whistle for my dog Spots
to stop romancing a neighbor’s collie.