Roy Robbins

Kite Flying in a Field Near the James River

                    I
Two women stand at the top of the hill.
Their hands are folded
And their blue dresses are black.
Behind them a boy walks out of the sun
Descending with serious steps
His own path down the hill.
He braces a kite to the wind.
Its sharp flash startles the calves.
 
                    II
The boy puts his kite on the ground
Then gravely steps back like a priest,
Invoking the consonant string
That goes with a hiss through the grass.
Behind him his dog like a bomb
Explodes in surprise near the cows.
Barking dumbly, she shivers for praise.
The bull flicks his drool with a chuff.
 
                   III
Moving backward the world spins around
Like string that unloops from a reel.
The boy’s eyes blur in the sun
Where astonished his feet tread the sky.
The bull’s bellow has turned the hill over
So the women can stand on their heads.
Even the cows stop their chewing.
The kite’s tail wags like a dog’s.