Poet’s Guide to Centrifugal Force

June’s blue sky
and grass soft on bare feet,
you and your mother take hands.
You race around her, your center,
your small body picking up speed
until likethat, you are skipping,
flat stone against lake’s mirror.

She leans back,
her arms stiffen.
You are airborne.

With each revolution
your laugh rises and falls,
your stomach tightens,
turns in on itself.

You are slipping
from each other,
as if your body wants
nothing but to be carried
along the breeze,
dandelion seed bending
to wind’s will,
for her to feel the same pull
and take her with you forever,

but only you experience
this desire, this loss dizzying
all you see when you thud
back to earth,

wind taken from you


Michael Levan’s poems have appeared recently in Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, Lunch Ticket, and Heron Tree as well as Cutbank’s 40th anniversary anthology and Southern Poetry Anthology VI: Tennessee. He teaches writing at the University of Saint Francis and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife, Molly, and son, Atticus.