Orphanage:  My Father's Story of Enlisting in the Air Force

Early morning before work
I rode my horse to check the fence lines
for breaks in the barbed wire.
Each day this time was mine--
the rest of the day, his.

My father lost in St. Louis or Texas,
the sun of mustard gas blazing in his chest,
and my mother working to support
the brothers and sisters they didn't take,
on my horse I rode those fences
in shoes tied together with wire,
rose out along the rolling hills
brilliant with snow,
                                 and I warmed my hands
in the horse's breath
and knew then beauty and survival
were brothers. I knew then what to do.

Michael Catherwood's first book of poems entitled Dare, was published by Backwaters Press in the summer of 2006. He has published poems in Agni, Black Warrior Review, Laurel Review, Louisiana Literature, Red River Review, Westview and others. He has poems forthcoming in Borderlands. He has won the Intro Award for Poetry and in 2003 received an encouragement award from the Nebraska Arts Council. He writes essays for Plainsongs and teaches at Creighton University. (mrcatherwood@cox.net)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761