Frank Brunner

Four-kid Playground 
Someone made that slide from devil metal. 
It glints with hellfire in the sun and cooks 
your skin from outside in. All the way in. 
You’ll never see a junebug family settle 
on that damned slope, reading their junebug books 
in chimneyed houses puffing junebug smoke. 
It’s cursed down to the bugs, all the way down, 
just like our town, I guess. The tourists gush                                       
“Your mountains are cathedrals, and your oaks                                 
our steeples! Nature gives us such a rush!”                                         
But then they rush back to their big box stores, 
their state-run 3d prisms, and we’re left here 
with four kids on the playground, tug-o-wars                       
for two-a-side, more empty swings each year. 
The daylight’s running out, all the way out, 
the slide is cooling off, but junebugs still 
won’t build there. It’s a damn slide. No one will. 

Two Bars, One Church 
The linemen stop here even if 
               Our lines aren’t in their search, 
They always say they like the way 
               We’ve got two bars, one church. 
The ospreys fish for bones to break 
               and come back here to perch. 
They nest on poles that hold the lines 
               For our two bars, one church. 
Sometimes the number-types pass through 
               For something like research, 
They seem to find it meaningful 
               We’ve got two bars, one church. 

Frank Brunner teaches high school physics in the Adirondacks, where he lives with his wife, children, and giant Newfoundland dog.