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Calendar Plans

For Geoffrey

In the living room, a standoff – a deadlock 

between right and wrong side of the law. 

A boy bellies forward, holster and chaps, 

motions invisible troops; his silver gun drawn, 

waving in the morning sun as if to cut a map through 

ranges unknown: cushions from a worn sofa, sheer cliffs 

that fold, collapse, take their toll; his brother content 

in a sheriff’s badge removable for a change of roles. 

How our memories tell us what we cannot know. How 

in retrospect, days and months, our calendar plans 

were a grace. How stars on straw costume cowboy hats

return like figures of forgotten clashes, traces of a 

shimmering now: a new uniform, new boots, new hat, 

new vows; occasion for the saints to be called by name. 

St. Michael, patron of the airborne, stay with my boy 

tonight, tomorrow, all the days. Know the two disparate 

tones beneath a skein of geese – their flight so fixed, 

resolved – when a mother prays, and when a mother calls.


Copyright © 2022 M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Published in Relief, Spring 2022.

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