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Sample Poems by Henry Crawford



Raised in a Tightrope Walking Family You'd Think I'd Know a Little...

something [about falling] you get an unobstructed view
something [about faith] my feet on my father's shoulders
something [about rules] when they say don't look down they mean it
something [about performing] I'm just an employee
something [about crowds] they're just eyes looking up
something [about music] never listen to drum roll
something [about distance] the further you go the smaller you get
something [about slipping] you'll know it even before you know it
something [about time] there's no going back even going backwards
something [about balance] holding my sister's earnest hands
something [about gravity] it's a two way street
something [about disappointment] missing my mother's arms
something [about magic] it never quite escapes the laws of nature
something [about letting go] there's never enough net
something [about mass] only the weightless never fall
something [about going down] it doesn't last forever



St. Ike of the Illuminated Highways

The street in front of my house woke up. It put on its slacks and walked out onto the interstate to join Ike who was throwing down asphalt like a West Point trained abstract expressionist. This was falling in love just inches off the ground at 65 mph. Eisenhower afternoons. Under the all-observing sky. With the road reaching out to stores. The stores becoming shopping strips and strips turning into strip malls and malls into super malls; men into supermen with superwomen in chrome fired rocket ships solid like Ike himself maybe raising a glass with the Rat Pack maybe going to separate beds with Dick and Laura Petrie or laughing like the studio audience at the Price is Right and expanding with joy as we teach the world our song in a high-octane chorus line along a wobbly equator in the slow after-glow of Hiroshima with the sun setting in earnest behind the final cities of the west.


East of Manhattan

Janey and I sat
on the rocks near a dock
of blackened wood.

Across the water
Rikers Island drained
the last of the 4:30 light.

My mouth was wet with
a winter kiss. I licked
my lips.

My hands in my pocket.
Her pale chest breathing
beneath her pink ski jacket.

Her father was dead.
Mine was gone.
"Don't treat me like some
little hoowah," said Jane
with a scorn that made
her mouth like that of a mouse.

Some cold came off the water.
The sun was gone. Nothing
but a rusty slash growing dark
over the airport.

It was late.
We left through a hole
in the shadows.