Stand Your Ground

by Gordon Lang  


Photograph by Eric Poor
Photograph by Eric Poor

Wisdom and Propriety live nearby

down the road apiece, but it’s not like

we’re amigos, or go bowling, or even

that I know them well enough to hang together,

throw back a couple beers, swap stories.

If they might say shush, stay quiet,

put a cork in it, what’s that to me?

Not like we vote in the same party,

far as I can tell. Hell, what’s Wisdom

ever done for me, and have I even

set foot in Propriety’s mudroom?

I’ve got this thing I’m carrying

this burden, this one inch thick slab

of confusion that I’ve been grilling,

first one side, then the other,

forking it from side to side—it’s done

and I can’t eat it, not all alone,

but you think they’d even try a bite,

a scoach, just to be social? You should catch

what they wash down each week

at lunch at Kiwanis or the K of C.

From my back porch I can just see Wisdom

sunbathe on the redwood deck or spy

Propriety undress before the upstairs

bathroom window.  Looking down the scope

atop the .30-.30, I could just take out the tail light

on Propriety’s new Beemer, or unwind

the bumper winch on Wisdom’s old Land Rover.

Most days, though, I pull up, without a word,

maybe nail a birdfeeder, scatter its seed,

or tag a turkey and give thanks to my own gods,

lighting a signal flare, inhaling deeply.




Gordon Lang teaches high school English and journalism.  He was the 2011 NEATE Poet of the Year and is the treasurer of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and a state advisor and local coach for Poetry Out Loud.  His work has appeared in various poetry journals, in the 2008 and 2010 editions of The Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire, and in the anthology This Assignment Is So Gay.  His first book, No Match for a Scarecrow, is now in its second edition, and his second, Graphic Sax and Violins, is forthcoming. He is currently editing the Poetry Society’s anthology of poems about aging and memory, You Must Remember This.

Eric Poor is a retired journalist, reporting most recently for the award-winning  newspaper The Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. He won numerous writing and photography awards from The New Hampshire Press Association (NHPA). He was twice named Columnist of the Year by the NHPA. An avid sportsman, he has been an outdoor columnist for 20 years for Hawkeye, New Hampshire’s outdoor sports newspaper.

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