The Capricorn Moon Hits Home

I think a lot
about Kenny “Sky” Walker
who rocked the cradle
in the 1989 dunk contest
it fizzled without
much meaning
but it mattered to me
in 2017 I got dumped in a swamp
I think I wasn’t
what I seemed
I tried to remember
I got eaten alive
by mosquitos in 1989
having smashed my stomach
into a wheelbarrow handle
I fell asleep in the grass
sucking wind
everything in the ground
all around
my natal chart
makes a lot of sense to me
I can’t even imagine seeming
like I’m what I’m like
I think I am
you have to get to know me
in 1989 camping
at Mt. Cardigan
the firetower presiding
over the valley road
a dog chased me a quarter mile
across the surface
of the dear planet
I loved forever in fear
in the aftermath
I smashed my walking stick
on a rock in a fit of rage
sweet rage
what else did I bury
my sweet love
my unique life
the whole history of dunks
that year
that season
in February
I recorded the contest
on a VHS tape
Shawn Kemp should have won
I never know where
a story is going
in 1989 I was seven
I had a crush on a girl
I did not really exactly
know I existed
I found out I needed glasses
and got glasses and then
I lost the glasses
I squinted in dreams
I saw murderers
breaking into my house
I saw the earthquake in California
on tv during the World Series
the bridge collapsing
and fires spreading
we had a book of photos
of the Yellowstone fires of ‘88
in my living room
in 1989 everything pointed
to death and destruction
I was small and doomed
I had been alive seven years
I prayed wordlessly to the one
true God the insane
powerful God in whom
I do not remember
ever believing I prayed
the prayers were not words
but they were
words were
what I had
for I was
pragmatic
and so very afraid.

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Seth Landman

Seth Landman is the author of the full-length poetry collections Confidence (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2015) and Sign You Were Mistaken (Factory Hollow Press, 2013). He received his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Denver (2013) and an MFA from the University of Massachusetts (2008). He is an English teacher and basketball coach at The Putney School in Vermont, and you can find him online @slandman33.