Martin Galvin


The girl who loved spider webs
Had much to mull with herself.
She wondered at the two strands
Of anchoring the spider makes
And why she smelled rock when she saw
A web grow between the sliced hills.
Before she knew about the boys,
Their stone-sure hearts,
Their spinning hands, she tried
Her skill at weaving a spider-web
But couldn't get the knack so turned
At last to soccer in the far field.
Rocky-thin and safe from mountains
And smart enough to shelter from thunder,
She would kick the ball to herself
At the other end, then run like a boy
Had never done and kick it back again.
In the early morning, the webs would work
At gathering the mist and pretending
That their design was beauty, nothing more.
Some flies got fooled, but she never did,
Not once in all the years she kicked that ball
And ran after it. After those apprenticeships,
She studied mountains for their art and brought
A man to herself who knew to kick a ball as hard
as she did and could gentle a spider in his hand.

                 "The profound change has come upon them"
                                                                                W.C. Williams
You, baby doctor,
pulling  boys out
by their toes, finding two
or three baby girls up your sleeve
by legerdemain, getting
it all down to a science,
I hear you have plumbed
a couple of poems
the other morning, put
them down on the pad
you use to prescribe
the medicines we need.
That's an artful thing
to do, making changes
that matter, getting them
underway the way
you've been taught,
giving us all a chance
we would not have had
without that little tug
toward a change that you,
you baby doctor, prescribed
in your hot medicinal scrawl.

Martin Galvin

Martin Galvin's most recent book, a chapbook from Finishing Line Press, will be out in June.  He has had poems in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The New Republic, JAMA, Commonweal, The Christian Science Monitor, Midwest Review, OntheBus, and many others, including several earlier issues of Innisfree. His book Wild Card won the Columbia Award (1989) judged by Howard Nemerov.



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