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Swinging Into the Night, by Leland Kinsey

May 19, 1996

My boy is swinging

and I push him.

"Higher," he cries and I push him

till with his feet he pulls leaves and twigs

from the weeping willow,

tree carved on slate markers

on the hill behind us.

He holds on tightly, as I taught him

the first times he wanted to go

so high, and only once has his grip

faltered as he let go to point

at the rising full moon

and he flew towards it

and knocked his breath completely out

for what seemed like minutes

until he could breathe then cry

then wanted to climb aboard for more,

and I pushed him.

Now he swings the other way,

"This way then that way," he says,

and that way his feet go up

into the grape arbor

where they crush green grapes

and later ripe ones will splatter.

"I love swinging up into the night," he says.

He is big enough to pump.

He laughs when I push him.

My arms ache, I have pushed him

so long, so hard.

My wish is obvious,

that this swinging freeze at this moment,

go on forever.

More strangely, he curves into time more huge

than both of us together can imagine,

and I push him.

From "Not One Man's Work: Poems" by Leland Kinsey (Lyons & Burford: $25; 89 pp.).

Copyright 1996 Reprinted by permission.

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