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Thanks to a residency at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at LMU München, where I tutor composition and edit a poetry weekly, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach at MVHS and lead the Amerikahaus Literary Circle.

20160523

Old Men Pitching Horseshoes

by X. J. Kennedy


Back in a yard where ringers groove a ditch, 
These four in shirtsleeves congregate to pitch 
Dirt-burnished iron. With appraising eye, 
One sizes up a peg, hoists and lets fly—
A clang resounds as though a smith had struck 
Fire from a forge. His first blow, out of luck, 
Rattles in circles. Hitching up his face,
He swings, and weight once more inhabits space, 
Tumbles as gently as a new-laid egg.
Extended iron arms surround their peg
Like one come home to greet a long-lost brother. 
Shouts from one outpost. Mutters from the other.

Now changing sides, each withered pitcher moves 
As his considered dignity behooves
Down the worn path of earth where August flies 
And sheaves of air in warm distortions rise,
To stand ground, fling, kick dust with all the force 
Of shoes still hammered to a living horse.

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