9/365: Tosses Left and Right
I'd throw sunflower seeds and water into my backpack when I was ten,
head out on my bike
and toss heads for right and tails for left,
switch this way and that for hours,
arch back in and edge back out,
letting fate do its work,
anticipating the disoriented tension that would creep hot along my shoulders
and force my hand.
I'd hide up a tree or behind a bush and eat my seeds
go over what I remembered of the lefts and rights,
check for the payphone quarter I kept in my shoe,
and consider what it could mean to keep going.
I might find a new town and lie about my name,
or build a lean-to in someone's back forty, at least until winter came,
or lie down in tall grain and just never stand up again,
lie there and breathe slowly until I never woke up again,
quarters on my eyelids so the bugs couldn't get in.
A farmer would find me in Fall,
and I might be soft and falling apart if late August went just right.
Down in the valley, the valley so low,
Hang your head over, hear the wind blow.
When the sunflower seeds ran out,
I'd pedal homeward,
disappointed at how close the familiar knots of suburban streets remained,
annoyed no one knew I had left or returned.
I could be adopting my new small-town family by now,
or forging my way as a prairie castaway,
or mouldering beneath a stranger's grain while beetles clacked in the heat.
I could take myself away.
I could be gone from everywhere.
If I'd just held out for a few more tosses left and right,
I could be gone.
I am writing one poem every day in 2016, and I am using the hashtag #365poems to document my progress.