Roy Bentley

Twyckenham Notes
Issue Fourteen
Winter 2021-22

Architectures of Windfall

He’s eight, traveling by train for the first time.
Buys a pack of Beemans. Opens a Superman comic.
Now he looks out at dead-of-winter fenced Ohio farms.
From the window seat, snowdrifts blur by at a fast walk,
then faster, blinding sun melting ice from the backs of hills.
The air outside is a flesh of snowflake and blowing snow,
countryside the red-tailed hawk circles in search of food.
He spits out an exhausted wad of Beemans. Deposits it 
on the floor under a seat ahead. Unwraps another stick.
Behind him, a man and woman mouth words. The car 
shudders gently. Clark Kent stammers word-balloons
for a skinny Lois Lane who turns on her spiked heels, 
storming off as any irate traveler between destinations
would. Alone, the boy makes sense of the light of midday 
as it pours into the car in the lull between frame-by-frame 
battles wherein Evil bests Good until it doesn’t, the crimson 
S brightest of all the colors of the rainbow world. He sees 
the flayed hedges of Auglaize County and Wapakoneta
as a glare and glint of February entering the secular air.
The unimaginable gladness of the yet-to-be-disappointed
is in the compartment in the person of an 8-year-old boy—
bent shoulders, too-heavy head, architectures of windfall
idoling in a window as skybright barns, unplowed roads, 
the occasional covered bridge over ice-fletched waters.
The Daily Planet might as well be the Masonic Temple.
Clark Kent and Lois Lane might as well be from Dayton
and on their way to Lima, might as well be holding hands
and happy. Like a man and woman the next aisle over
who whisper as they look out at the trees skeletoned 
by shadows like an x-ray of what lives, what dies.

ROY BENTLEY is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, chosen by Billy Collins as finalist for the Miller Williams poetry prize; Starlight Taxi, winner of the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize; The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana, chosen by John Gallaher as winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize; as well as My Mother’s Red Ford: New & Selected Poems 1986 – 2020 published by Lost Horse Press. Poems have appeared in Pembroke Magazine, The Southern ReviewRattle, ShenandoahNew Ohio Review, and Prairie Schooner among others. His latest is Beautiful Plenty (Main Street Rag, 2021). 

Cover image by Toti O’Brien.
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