Three Poems by Larry Rogers
The Majestic Poor
There are fog
lights in front
of Fort Smith’s
Standing in front
of these lights
after sun fall
a man casts
an eight story
pass by here
and pause to
before hobbling on
Faith or Something Like It
From a place our elders
called Over Yonder
we received transmissions
that others didn’t
and unscrambled these signals
in dank cellars lit
by coal oil lamps
as the storm leveled our tin palaces
and bared our fields.
Crawled out later
into the warmth of
the highest weeds
that we could find
a couple hundred yards
from the pig trail
that passed this way;
on a suddenly clear night
staring at something Over Yonder
that only we could see.
For 30 minutes a robin has been
marching around my backyard,
showcasing himself for a lady
perched in a pine above him.
I recognize this pair from last year:
my backyard, his parade ground;
that pine tree, her reviewing stand.
His playfulness and her patience
with his playfulness on display.
He must be more than just a showoff
to command her attention this way.
Maybe he’s an expert nest builder and protects
their young when they’re learning to fly.
Maybe she appreciates and respects
this side of him and tolerates the other.
Or maybe she just goes for pretty boys.
I’ve never seen a bird flap wings as furiously
as this male robin without taking flight.
Does she worry he will lift off some day
and not be able to stop? Leaving her to raise
their latest brood alone. She doesn’t sound like it.
Chuckling on the highest branch of that pine.
Growing up, Larry Rogers was mostly raised in a potting shed trailer in the piney woods of west central Arkansas—a sanctuary for moonshiners, marijuana growers, and merry (and not-so-merry) pranksters. His poems and stories have appeared in The New York Quarterly, South Carolina Review, Kentucky Review, Pearl, Rattle, Hanging Loose, Nerve Cowboy, Wormwood Review, The Denver Post, and A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. His poetry collection Live Free or Croak was published by Golden Antelope Press in 2017.