IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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AMISH

David Shumate

You see them in their black carriages along the highway as if they got separated from some funeral cortege and now must deliver the dead on their own. The men wear beards but shave their mustaches. The women wear long dresses and tight bonnets. The children play with wooden toys and point when they pass televisions glowing along the roads as if each house had a soul all its own. They keep bees. Raise crops. Train teams of horses so large they look like they've been exaggerated. If an Amish man promises to meet you at noon by the courthouse with a dozen cages of chickens, he'll be there. When the children are about to turn into adults, they go on a rumspringa to see which world suits them best. Girls dangle jewelry from their ears and necks. Smear makeup on. Boys get behind the wheel of a car. Barrel down gravel roads. Stop in a field. And baptize themselves with a bottle of gin. A few go out for football. The girls join the cheerleading squad. Then return home smelling of perfume or cologne. Giggling as they stumble up the stairs, long after the candles have been blown out.

 
 
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