Juvenilia

by Duncan Campbell
She said the boards are thinning
and losing their way,
the shed can whistle

through its teeth.
I placed a hand
to the weather-sore panels, answered
it’s coughing up the nails. Sweeping

last season’s fallen leaves away
revealed three, curled and red in the dirt
like night crawlers I would have used

in fishing off the low stone bridge,
the same under which
we hunted flashing crayfish

in the sticky lamplight
that coated her and made
the distant shed look haunted.

I was wary of their claws,
their cruelty, and she maimed one
so I could hold it. Sitting together

on the rocks, she said a bridge
is made to span a gap and I said
a bridge is made to carry things.

Originally from the “Quiet Corner” of northeastern Connecticut, Duncan Campbell is a recent graduate of the MFA Program in Writing at the University of New Hampshire. His poems have appeared in Off the Coast, Sun’s Skeleton, elimae, the Long River Review, and elsewhere. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Edward R. and Frances S. Collins Literary Prize in poetry. He lives in Newmarket, New Hampshire and works as a writing tutor.

© 2012, Duncan Campbell