OH SUMMER THEN
Indian Harbor Beach, Florida
New-built houses, bare earth behind them
sloping down to a narrow, new canal. And dieseling
along that slope beside that canal, fat black tires
tracking sandy earth, a cement mixer, Diamond Rio,
its 70,000 pounds of drum, driver, engine, all that weight,
you'd think, might send it toppling. I stand on
the dented, orange cab, orange drum revolving,
the gravel, the sand, the watery mix climbing inside,
then slushing back to the bottom with hisses
and clunks, wet cement—mud, we call it—to pour
the formers we've braced and hammered, the cap,
we call it, to shape the seawall sheets secure
in the water, vertical, and true, like new, young spines.
I stand on the cab—the college kid they call me—
the foreman, the crewmen shouldering
barrows, round points, hammers, saws.
Feet apart, knees bent to tilt of truck, sharp incline
of the soft back yards, I hold
a two-by-four, a wire prong on the upper end,
and with it claw and lift the power lines we're growling
beneath, clear of the cab and drum, the truck springs
flexing, groaning, downside tires trenching dirt.
I snag the sagging, black lines, lift, see
squalls piling in over the intercostal west. And lightning,
and after each jagged bolt—thunder. And kid that I am—
lurching, leaning—the college kid—no thoughts of
lightning strike, crushed to death, maimed for life.
But, shirtless, and with a tan, and with the sweat, and with
the new, hard-earned muscles I'm constructing myself,
I imagine families having moved in already,
daughters at the windows watching.
William Snyder has published poems in Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, Folio, Cottonwood, and Southern Humanities Review among others. William was the co-winner of the 2001 Grolier Poetry Prize, winner of the 2002 Kinloch Rivers Chapbook competition; The CONSEQUENCE Prize in Poetry, 2013; the 2015 Claire Keyes Poetry Prize. He teaches writing and literature at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN.