Poetry by Robert W. Hill
Selling the Children
“I am the one that captured your girls
and I will sell them in the market.”
A cream and grey Cadillac hearse stands
dead on the shoulder. Dig the grave by
hand. Snow and sun have time to fall inside.
Clouds are bellying up in layers
behind the black silhouettes of trees
down the slopes behind our house.
Our debts pile up undersea like oil
and corexit, undulating in submarine
currents. Wailing in the wash.
When I Was a Kid
I hoped to see the wisdom in pictures such as
this one. At twelve, I wondered why the bare tree
in the background lifted my eyes, swaddled
my spirit in the crescent of that flag, palmetto
in the fold, fashioned white on blue, complement to
the gray sky. I loved wintry distance, try today
only to snatch the briefest tint of that western
fall. It kept moving, and I cannot catch it now,
could not, young as I was. Then, I tried to pin it
down with a house, with a vine-covered white shed, just
something, anything, the big white house in the cul-
de-sac, young enough not to know the cost of fierce
frenzy, blindered trough of chiaroscuro. Comfort.
Foundless surprise, to face such fecund bleakness, no
boy of the land. A gawker at the feet of light.