Leaving Midway

In a clouded flash I knew then why the wooden ring,
no matter how steadily it flew when I released it,
why though it felt solid and stable in my hand,
it bounced like a glared bird askew a windowpane.
I still almost feel the wooden ring in my fingers,
held loose and just light enough,
between my guiding index finger
and my thumb supporting apposed.

I aim the ring and it glides,
spins from my hand.
I hear a gentle tick; the ring
grazes the top of the stake and bounces off.

I remember the ring, the feel of it
and the sound of it and my disillusioned
little soul has responded and resounded
for the years since, my subsequent three score and ten.
Back at our home on Rice Street,
centenarian oaks the age of the house
unroll the seedling light green of early summer,
or dull the senescent green of early fall.

I almost hear the Mississippi River just south.
My mind sees, feels, swirls
its knapped surface flash under the moon.
The circus tent has been dark for seventy years.

Should I try lifting a gap in the cosmos?
If I can lift it, not quite a foot,
could I slide under into the mouldy dark?
But that might be true time—
Far safer to pretend still?
Better to stay in the glare of Edison lights
in the Midway, grasp at a bauble moment
to delay the question of time. Instead,

through obsidian translucent blackness
I drift into the grey aspect
of freedom I have won
in the texture of care.

I can still learn and feel again
in my longing
and long-engaged regard
for deep currents of directive loss.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and the North Woods of Minnesota. Sederstrom is the author of seven books of poetry, his newest book, Icarus Rising, Misadventures in Ascension, published by Jackpine Writers' Bloc, was released last winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.