Two Tim Murphy Poems

Red State Reveille

Daybreak. A youth at Fargo's Jiffy Lube
reloads his grease gun with an oil-stained tube,
prints out the service records on my truck,
changes three filters fouled with gunk or muck,
rotates the tires and drains the filthy oil,
tops up my fluds. Happy with his toil,
grinning broadly, he send me on my way,
in time for Mass. God bless the USA.

The Reading

Some owlets eye me from a scrub oak tree.
They're fledged and glass me with their yellow eyes,
and not a one will fly off in surprise,
their wing tips rounded, flying silently,
because I bear a gun, because I'm me.

These are Bob Clawson's kids in Acton, Mass.,
and they are unpersuadable by Frost,
their fathers absent and their bearings lost,
and God excuses kids like these from class.
What shall I say to owlets as I pass ?

-from Mortal Stakes/Faint Thunder, Dakota Institute