The Song of Stationary Nathan

Eric McHenry
| poetry




I went out to the maple tree

because a riot was in its head,

and flung a Frisbee at the noise,

but brought a starling down instead,

and laid it in a shoebox nest,

and put some twigs and Skittles in,

and struggled up, and set it back

where I imagined it had been.


When I was shinnying down, I felt

a Skittle windfall on my head.

A skinny girl in red capris

was pelting me with green and red.

She swung her legs and laughed my name,

then disappeared into the crown.

I followed her until the swaying

and broken sunlight brought me down.


Though I am old with waiting here

and she has grown up and away,

I’ll watch the tossing of those boughs

and catch her silhouette someday,

and we’ll walk lightly up the boughs

and gather, in eternal June,

the Nilla Wafers of the sun,

the Necco Wafers of the moon.

Eric McHenry teaches English at Washburn University. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Field, Cincinnati Review, Poetry International, and Poetry Northwest, from whom he received the Theodore Roethke Prize.  His next book is forthcoming from Waywiser Press.

Assisted Living
If You Ever Become a Paper Doll