Mark Neely

[tailed by swirling buzzards I descended]

tailed by swirling buzzards I descended
under a sky of cooling steel the geese
guarding the river eyed me like bitter colonels

as I passed the dam and turned downtown
I didn’t stop at Doc’s for a beer or sit
in the bus shelter with the teenage lovers

I was finally old enough to press on
when there was business to be done I came
to the concrete courthouse sitting on its concrete

stilts like a ponderous bug a Trojan beetle
aliens might use to breach the city
and spread my arms as an officer

blessed me with her wand and rose
in an elevator with a man with a barbed wire
tattoo around his neck and a woman in heels

as long as justice’s sword oh how sweet
to be unemployable at the yellow counter
I wrote my name three times to make us free

Mark Neely

<em>Edit Poetry</em> Mark Neely

Mark Neely’s first book, Beasts of the Hill, won the FIELD Poetry Prize and was published by Oberlin College Press. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, Salt Hill, and Barrow Street.