By Michael Hettich
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Extra resources for A small boat: poems
He thinks he's a lion! Once he escaped and ran through the city. Disappeared. Changed his name. Actually this isn't him this is a lion. And this is a picture of the African plains. We'll slip it beneath his door now; he'll look at it smiling, draw an animal on it and himself running to catch it, slip the picture back under the door. Thus we study the workings of his mind. Today he's drawn a bowl, that's a bowl of soup, being carried by a stick figure, a woman. Page 51 That's him smiling. Notice the hair is wild, that he wears no shirt.
The shape of a small boat even broken beyond any floating propped against any wall of my house seems to make home. <><><><><><><><><><><><> And where there were too many people in one place lovers strapped chunks of dirt to each other's backs and walked out until they fell. There they called home. In that language, or what has been passed down to us, there is no word for lost. Night rises Page 37 on small, sharp wings here and there, and skims the waving grass. We are far away before it is completely dark.
2. As kids we used square nets to catch minnows to catch snappers with. Spilled them all over the peeling dock and watched them flip-flopso cool and clean. Best to bait them still alive. My friends liked to throw knives into the mass of them: Thunk of the heavy fishing blade into the dock. Half-fish still flip-flop. We bend close, staring. I hated baiting minnows, hated catching fish. Sometimes when I caught a fish I'd cut my line, tell my friends a snapper had broken it. Nights, waiting for sleep, I'd imagine the silver beauty swimming through dark water, long line trailing phosphorous behind him.