Ryan Boyd Writes Poetry

Old Media.

Delivery Kids

The Lex hit a shield of ice
On a bridge and kissed the guardrail,
Our bumper crumpling like foil
Ten miles from Hoboken.

The tags had expired
And cops would be coming
So Michael, panicked,
Took the packs to a near field

And sliced and turned them
Inside out, wiping
The last glister of fishscale coke
Onto the gray-toothed ground.

Two smirking troopers pulled up.
Damage was assessed,
The trunk unlocked and prodded.
They just let us go . . . .

We headed back to Philly in the dark
Worried and bored,
The bumper lashed with nylon cords,
Right wheel whining, eating the blacktop.

Last year they shot Devon in the ankle
For getting stuck up with the day’s take.
We’d lost sixty-thousand
In the snow near Hoboken.

An Interruption

Somebody rang the bell—

The surgeon, I ran downstairs,
Dropping my instruments;

The athlete, I ran downstairs,
Thighs clotted to knots;

The cook, I ran downstairs,
My red roast still contracting;

The playwright, I ran downstairs,
Freezing a divorce;

The carpenter, I ran downstairs
In a suck of dust;

The fevered, I ran downstairs,
The doorway slid;

The printer, I ran downstairs,
The galleys barely rattled.

The child, I ran downstairs,
My book a broken moth;

The lover, I ran downstairs
Swinging my skin;

Owner of the house, I ran downstairs:
A contract must have come,

A woman in a sundress,
Her story half and poorly told.

Somebody rang the bell—
I ran, but they’d run off.

Primary Sources

When we were kids it was a feral den
in the middle of town, an igloo of brambles
and berry-twang for racing
box turtles, penning
the dodgeball losers, a lifeboat
for camp-out torture stories.
Other kids had settled it:
we found their rusty Tonkas
moving in, a hammer,
strips of t-shirt tied in thornbows.
A hamster cage
of leaves, early fall got tacky
with exploded berries and quivering hornets,
winter did the snag to snow and cat hair,
but any weather I’d lie out
rehearsing kid stuff,
spot Mars, imagine wicked knots,
or plan a grown-up house,
another giant overturned bird nest
full of kids and rigged
with busted light bulbs—
I’d be myself a bush collecting stuff.
Dad left the mulberry’s beard
uncut, he let us huddle and grow up there.
For luck before the SATs
I studied fractions in its basket,
saw it last when home from school,
owned by people who hadn’t chopped it,
whose kids squall down the caverns
sour with mulberry, I like to imagine.

The Manager on Vacation

The island sun is a nail gun
cruising a fry of chemicals,
cigarillos are white pins,
and daiquiris undergo desertification

down at the titration station
where I fill avocado hulls with bottle caps,
gorging on the heat,
tightening my hide.

I promised you stays, baby baby,
but my phone’s not on.
I seem to be in a rum commercial
on medicine shores

where surfboards lean in the glaze
like strips of fish,
and soft nature
palms another drink. I miss Boston.

Family Portrait

Some months in you saw
Your belly swelling
Turns and kicks,
Skin tightened
Toward lyrics like
Rain served in a tulip,

Flesh of the early oceans.
I asked if I could—
His elbow flickered against my hand.
The jump to life, shelled motion
Printing skin, long time till he shows a flaw,
Until then pillowed, perfect, pushing up.

(for Wendy and Tristan)

Sidewalks in Philadelphia

In January’s tank
Winter lettuce opens
Its grotesque electric purple,
Flukes and frills
Like baby auroras
Touching the sleet to beads,
Scentless, nobody’s food.
Against the quartz
Of wind it spins tighter,
All itself alone
By a neighbor’s doorstep.