Pete Mackey


The one the child must use inside a train,
His own absorbed face held where he stares
From this sealed, well-lit minor world as night
Falls upon pass-through places known by name
Only through an image of himself staring
Through himself at the only world he knows.

He canít help himself, despite the warnings
After his voice rises without his hearing
The sounds of his words because he had to
Feel the speed with which passing through
All that is stone metal shadow lights bodies
Happens. But heíll get used to it, the trembling 

Showing itself in everything, and stops 
Forcing people into people, strangers
Rushing away to wherever they have been
Off lit platforms beside the waiting tracks
Which point to everywhere they can go,
Reduced to seeing out through themselves through

Themselves at others like them opposite,
Who are nearly there before they are gone,
While another world assembles itself
Behind glass moving into another world.
He could tell them what he knows with his inside
Voice. But he will keep this to himself. 


It is no secret
Despite what you thought.
It is the science of motion:
The wrist set back
Like a broken cup,

The ball sliding up
Over the open palm
Into the waiting nest
Of muscle memory
And practiced hands;

As his limbs uncoiled
His body would rise
Through the release
Natural as a breath
Before his descent Ė

With such backspin
And arc the net
Would hardly move
And no rim or backboard
Would be needed,

You know, knowing
You are not him,
As you bend your wrists
And knees one more time
To shoot, and shoot again.


The hawk changed by the second
Each scrap of grey Ohio sky
With the difference of its motion

Over the leafless trees and fallow
Black earth of early winter
Around that interstate we drove

After we buried him. I thought
A grieverís thought: Itís a message,
A quick, half-conceived thought

Trying to become belief. As if
The dead spoke in miraculous flight
Almost too quick to seeóas a bird

Then a bird of prey. Heís gone.
Thatís the cold truth. Stop thinking
That hawk followed something.

Pete Mackey

Pete Mackey is the author of Chaos Theory and James Joyceís Everyman (University Press of Florida), has written for numerous university presidents and other higher education leaders in America and Ireland, and now lives and works in central Pennsylvania.



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