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Marcus Millsap: School Day Afternoon

I climb the steps of the yellow school bus,
move to a seat in back, and we're off,
bouncing along the bumpy blacktop.
What am I going to do when I get home?
I'm going to make myself a sugar sandwich
and go outdoors and look at the birds
and the gigantic blue silo
they put up across the road at Motts'.
This weekend we're going to the farm show.
I like roosters and pigs, but farming's no fun.
When I get old enough to do something big,
I'd like to grow orange trees in a greenhouse.
Or maybe I'll drive a school bus
and yell at the kids when I feel mad:
"Shut up back there, you hear me?"
At last, my house, and I grab my science book
and hurry down the steps into the sun.
There's Mr. Mott, staring at his tractor.
He's wearing his DeKalb cap
with the crazy winged ear of corn on it.
He wouldn't wave over here to me
if I was handing out hundred dollar bills.
I'll put brown sugar on my bread this time,
then go lie around by the water pump,
where the grass is very green and soft,
soft as the body of a red-winged blackbird.
Imagine, a blue silo to stare at,
and Mother not coming home till dark! 

—Dave Etter

from Alliance, Illinois
Spoon River Petry Press, 1983

Copyright 1983 Dave Etter.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Spoon River Poetry Press. Copyright 1983 by Dave Etter. For further permissions information, contact Spoon River Poetry Press, P.O. Box 6, Granite Falls, MN, 56241.

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Dave Etter (1928-2015) was the author of 33 poetry collections, including The Yellow House (Red Dragonfly Press, 2014).

Learn more about Dave Etter at the Illinois Center for the Book.