The Burn

You try to clench your teeth and steel your cheek,
You’ll brace your bones and fortify your feet,
But when the tempers spark and fighting starts,
There’s no defense against the punctuation mark.

Of course, you’ll shield yourself with clever words,
Riposting well, but nothing goes unheard.
Your wit’s deferred what since has left its mark:
There’s no defense against its punctuation mark,

And just as new brands have a phantom burn,
Alone and late at night you’ll toss and turn
And squirming, find that something found your heart
With no defense against a punctuation mark.

It’s singed its symbol that you still can feel,
Since burns are scars that only time can heal,
Although it leaves a hard and calloused part
That may fend off another punctuation mark

That shares its shape, but bear this well in mind:
A brand may never show a second time,
But it still burns, a permanent remark
That there’s no pain like punctuation marks.

 

~Michael Danger Caskey

Graduating from Sewanee

This inland-isle of Innisfree, for but a fee could be
A resting place of carefree dreams and rocky mountain streams
That bubble in-between a probable infinity
And down into the sacred river Alph, or so it seems,

But this is not for some: I see the waters tugging on the rocks
And wind against the leaves, but seeing these, think “why not me?”
And maybe soon that stream will carry me past inland lochs,
Those nine beanstalks, Past Alph, toward sunsets and the sublime sea,

And when I leave this Innisfree to wine-dark briny folds,
A wish will raft me, goodwill waft me wind to guide me home,
For here, I thrive, but my heart lies past these pastoral wolds,
So staying here but one more year, I may forever roam.

The clouds colliding show no sky above this troubled tide,
But even with the stars obscured, a friend’s a better guide.

~Michael Danger Caskey