Wade Newman is a poet, critic and a successful businessperson in New York. Newman, who has appeared in over fifty journals, is author of Testaments from Somers Rocks Press. A poet of considerable range, whether in meditations on the complications of love or in narratives set in the past, Newman coined the term Expansive Poetry.
"Dinosaurs in the Park" was originally published in Croton Review. It is reprinted by permission of the author. Not for commercial or other distribution.
THE DINOSAURS IN THE PARK Copyright (c) 1996 by Wade Newman Descended to ground level From your mother's dying body, I collect you from your patient vigil In the hospital's noisy lobby, Where the arthritic woman I asked to mind you Holds your soft cheek to her sagging bosom. Like a carriage bar her thin arms brace you. I whistle once and you shed her prison, Oblivious that for two whole hours She was your guardian, you her treasure. The stand-up ash tray accepts your collision, Shakes like her wrinkled hand waving farewell. Between the sweat of your mother's labor And the sour smell of my last breath, You run on the carpet to your rightful parent. I carry you down the icy steps, And wade us through the slush-furrowed street Across to the park smothered white with snow. "Like Eskimos," we grab a handful and eat. On the bench by the pond I will tell you all: That your mother's doctor can't make her well, That she misses you more than you miss your cartoons, That I break each time I close her door. "My son," I begin, but "Look!" you yell, And trudge away toward the dinosaurs. No French cave paintings or movie reflections, But big as life two mammoth snow sculptures Fill the space between a few leafless trees. Where last summer we watched you overrun this place Today Brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex Command the jungle gym, seesaws, slide and swings. Those monsters, abandoned to stand and melt, Naturally gape at you as you at them As with every step you become the measure Of modern man to your pet frog's ancestors. Suddenly you hesitate, as if sensing The distance between me, your protector, And the unknown animals growing in stature. Like an army Sergeant I shout, "Go on," And comb the park for addicts, psychos, punks and bums. Day turns to dusk. You turn and charge. The Thunder-Lizard is the first you attack. Primeval stoic, he accepts your kicks Against his slabs of legs. Your snowballs pound a behemoth back You carefully climb by way of his tail. Instinctively, you master the beast And as you ride him cowboy style, cry, "Look at me, Daddy, I'm on top of it." From our meager fossils Will Earth's future archaeologists Reconstruct your play, or the evening Your father rested on a bench and prayed? When I look up again, you seem farther away Than the evening your mother and I were wed Or the night you added your helpless shriek To a planet already crowded with cries. Tired of your docile friend, you approach The other monster with a branch for a spear, Slowly circling the whiplash tail, the bone- Crushing haunches, the dwarf arms still long enough To snatch a child. Again you charge. As if by magic, the street lamps click on, Illuminating a sharp-toothed grin That answers your innocent shenanigans. At once you scream for me and run, Trailing footprints of a tiny creature Across the millennia to my trembling arms. Wade Newman
Don't miss Wade Newman's fine chapbook, Testaments, available from Somers Rocks Press, c/o Arthur Mortensen, 505 Court Street, #4N, Brooklyn, NY 11231, available for $4 plus $2.00 S&H and any appropriate taxes (NY 8.25%)
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