methow grist 2011-2014 archive


my heart went boom

Last night during the fifth-grade play
the little girl playing Titania
grimaced through her lines
saying, “Come, sit thee down upon this flow’ry bed,
while I thy amiable cheeks do coy”  as if the donkey-headed kid playing
Nick Bottom was covered in shit.
But still, we all laughed,
and clapped our hands sore
when the poor shadows bowed and hammed it up
for their many curtain calls.

“I’m like that, “ I told my wife,
as we walked across the parking lot.
“What, like Nick Bottom?” she asked.
“No, like a kid reciting his lines in a play he doesn’t understand.”
She smiled then stroked my ugly ears.
“No you’re not,” she said
and the wind pushed through the lot
sending the electrical wires above our car
swaying crazily from their poles
as if to remind me
that each moment,
every single one,
is almost more than
I bargained for.

- © John Straley

John Straley first came to the Methow in 1963 for a family pack trip with Jack Wilson and three years later went to work for him. When Wilson sold out to Claude Miller, John was thrown into the deal and he packed for Claude through 1975. After a summer working for the Courtney family in Stehekin, he then moved to Sitka, Alaska where his horse career ended and his writing career began.

John has seven published novels along with the book of poetry that this poem came from: ‘The Rising and the Rain’ from the University of Alaska Press.