Summer, Speedway, Indiana 1975

I guess because his dad was a dentist,
Jeff Beverly had a 500 ml syringe—
minus the needle.

Looking back, I understand
why all the grown-ups
said I was disturbed

for many reasons, but mainly

because of that one lovely June evening

that I blasted 500 mls of tap water
reddened with the food coloring
(that we’d used to make Easter eggs
in Jeff’s perfect mom’s pristine kitchen)
out of Jeff’s bedroom window
onto the neighborhood cookout below.

Although the pool is deep enough,
it’s too packed and murky
because the designers thought the masses
wouldn’t go for such a static concept.

Aqua-Adventure Fun Park!

So, as a naked herd,
we shift our feet
and scratch our ribs
and pretend
we are not devouring
the hideous and erotic details
of one another
as the sleepy lifeguard
so that each kid,
teen, and grownup
can burst with delight
for 17 seconds
of whitewater adventure.


You sunny mud curve.
You bland yum-yum.

You vertical smile in four bites.

With you I don’t need to chew
because you are the well behaved gut mush.
of a cartwheeling black and yellow spider.

Soon you will hang
with the other limp innards
from the bony fingers
of October’s plucked sapling
below my airtight
office cubicle window
so I may watch you
shrivel more valiantly
than this pretend me
blossoming backwards.

At Wolf Cave, McCormick’s Creek, July 2014

Maria gabbed the whole time
we wriggled through the black—
which was good because,
cool and slimy as it was—
I broke into a sweat
and began to hyperventilate.

Maybe kids love such worming
because kids are Tiktaaliks,
and have tough elbows and knees,
or just know the dank, black home
we can no longer fathom.

Dixie Cup

If Earl Kragiel ever said or did
one fucked up thing to me,
I can’t think of what it was.
That’s a hell of a thing
to say of any old friend.

But I have to take it back.

When we were very young
he splashed & dunked me
In Little Platte Lake
before I could swim
or even go under.

But in miserable junior high,
I was happy on my sleeping bag
on the floor next to his bed
listening to Boston and Elton John
on his AM/FM clock radio
and looking at the magazines
we stole from Mr. Kemp’s tool shed.

And that’s why I kept it secret,
the time he asked if I knew
what cum looks like,
then said don’t watch.

Grant Vecera teaches writing and inquiry at Indiana University Indianapolis and at Butler University.  His poems have been regularly appearing in various illustrious literary periodicals for the past thirty years.  He prefers bicycles to automobiles, sandwiches to guns, and cats to people (except for his wife and daughter).