4 Poems — Kevin Rabas

Boom Town

“We used to hunt mushrooms
  where your house is,”
I tell Michelle. The big
  houses went in around us,
the cows gone
  we used to shoo
from the baby pool, the gravel
  roads turned blacktop,
  like holiday lights.


Car Window Kiss

Lemon-rind light, end-of-winter light, light
  of heaven’s horns, trumpets of light, light
like Wanda’s long blonde hair, hair that would catch
  in my teeth after a kiss, hair I would dream about, swim
through in my blue lane, at practice, after school, and she
  would leave a pink lipstick kiss on my car window, something
I never wished to roll down, erase.



Outside, hail, ice
  rocks my car, pocks
its top.

Inside, the bubble test
  my first time, my pencil
tip dull.

The blue haired proctor
  snubs her smoke,
cig tip in hand, spit
  at its tip.

We pull our hair, sharpen
  pencils, stare down
the numbers, letters, test.


Hand and Foot
          for George

The three of us thought we were badass, new to hand and foot, and we said we’d rush the judo instructor, after hours, just him and us, and we were strong, big, came from scrappy hoods, and, when we got to the gym, judo guy was kickin’ this big bag, just him and us, and he had this calm, like a lake with a skin of ice. He just looked at us once and kept kickin’ that bag, and when we came up, he gave that bag one last kick, and the bag fell from its chains with a chalk poof when it hit hard wood, and, awed, we turned and went. We’d never fight him.


Kevin Rabas leads the poetry track at Emporia State University. He has seven books, including LISA’S FLYING ELECTRIC PIANO, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner.