I tend to them all spring>>my fragile buds of basement box& auction fame>>I ply them with practiced hands>>deadhead
their spent glass flames>>unwind ganged vines>>reunitesockets & plugs>>& when I’ve gathered just the right palette
of bulbs>>red & green>>blue & orange>>I fashion a special strand>>a rosary of nightlights>>to keep me safe from the blinding bright
of long-lit days>>in the coming weeks I might fiddle somewith draping<<a hook here<<a staple there<<but once
the solstice starts all fiddling ends<<as the south wind blastsmy mood<<as dune & doom become one insurmountable mound
then only the stained-glass glow from my mantel can bring relief<<its promise of snow & Christmastide a sleight of mind<<a feint
that lets me forget I’m part of the hated five percent<<a squintingbeach leper<<a summer-onset depressive
The Molting Bison at Custer State Park
Shagging, shedding, casting off his old quilt battingin clumps, bunches, uneven brown tinsel strips,
a thousand bad combovers floating above himin the spring breeze. He bellows, snorts, paws
the ground, urinates in a rival’s wallow, shakeshis horned helmet in agony, sideswiping boulders,
fences, rubbing the bark off trees. After the stormhe rolls in mud chrism, cooled at last, soothed,
accepting the baptism. And I see my novice selffor the first time, as others must have: the mullet
diction, the ragged iambs—my wild poetic peltbudding sprouts, itching to come of age.
Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska. She is an assistant editor at The Centrifugal Eye. Her prose and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bookends Review, Emerge Literary Journal, Gone Lawn, Humber Pie (UK), Lily, The Meadowland Review, Rufous City Review, Stone Highway Review, Terrain.org and Wild Orphan (UK).