Plant your feet
was his instruction
on how to hit a ball
or break a jaw.
I was young enough
still to dream it
or at least remember
my feet being quick,
never still, alive.
I thought I was
the quickest of all,
but really, no.
I was only a kid
who couldn’t box
or hit a ball,
no matter how he
wanted that to be.
I disappointed him,
and he disregarded me.
Raising a Boy
Raise your boy somewhere with old cars out back.
He will pay them no attention, except to note
they exist, and maybe one day he will haul them
off the property, calling them an eyesore,
a nest for foxes and mice, a den for addicts
or thieves, a danger to children playing.
Or he’ll do nothing about it because he thinks of war
or business or love, or the environment or art,
or nothing at all, and rust and the weeds will hide
it away until another boy comes with a pain
he must get out by smashing old windows
with stones or bricks—he will dent the hood,
break out the lights, slash at the old whitewalls,
even set it afire or take shots with his .22.
Maybe it will be his hideout, his fort, or castle.
He’ll make it his clubhouse or a private space
under the trees—even try to fix it, get it running.
A certain kind of boy even believes he’ll drive it.
You can tell the man to come by the way
a boy treats an old car on his property.
Will Reger is the Inaugural Poet Laureate for the city of Urbana, IL. He has authored two books of poetry, and is also an artist, flutist, and historian.