Late-summer-afternoon Iowa haze:
lightning concusses the air.
a figure plunges to earth—
a telephone lineman, limp
as a shot bird.
Dead on impact —
no, he springs to his feet
and looks all around him,
stunned but unhurt. My mother and I
watch through the living-room window.
She rushes to him and gives him a look
I’ve never seen.
She doesn’t ask
Are you all right. Asks,
Would you like a drink.
He looks unsurprised. Replies,
Yes I would.
Follows us inside. A tall man, all sharp angles.
A yellow hook—the one that failed him—
hangs from his belt. He watches
my mother. She offers another. They drink.
Such are the transactions of grown-ups.
David Corcoran is a science editor at The New York Times and has been writing poetry for four years, mostly in workshops at the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center. Other poems appear in the Summer 2007 issue of Podium and in a forthcoming issue of Barrow Street. He lives in northern New Jersey.