Saturday, July 25, 2009

"The Milkman and His Son" by Thomas Lux

I've been reading my baby boy poetry whenever I can. I read this poem to him today and thought it was a good one to post.

The Milkman and His Son

For a year he'd collect
the milk bottles—those cracked,
chipped, or with the label's blue
scene of a farm

fading. In winter
they'd load the boxes on a sled
and drag them to the dump

which was lovely then: a white sheet
drawn up, like a joke, over
the face of a sleeper.
As they lob the bottles in

the son begs a trick
and the milkman obliges: tossing
one bottle in a high arc
he shatters it in mid-air

with another. One thousand
astonished splints of glass
falling . . . Again
and again, and damned
if that milkman,

that easy slinger
on the dump's edge (as the drifted
junk tips its hats

of snow) damned if he didn't
hit almost half! Not bad.
Along with gentleness,

and the sane bewilderment
of understanding nothing cruel,
it was a thing he did best.

(Thomas Lux, from New and Selected Poems, 1997 Houghton Mifflin Company)

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