Gary Lee Nihsen
Building a swing set for my kids,
I am thinking about the end of the world.
I am re-boring the clamps in the set’s main beam.
What is done to it?
What makes it this grayish-green?
Won’t rot, approved for ground contact.
Something about it is poison.
Is it the smoke when burning?
Can I imagine someone
burning this swing set?
My daughter is just learning
to ride her bike. I am thinking
about the end of the world, about
the 46 attempts on Hitler’s life.
Atop the set, I watch my daughter.
What is it about courage and
our great love for life, I think and break
my hammer pulling off
the swing’s upper metal plate.
Ah, Hell, it either works or it doesn’t,
there is nothing in between; and then suddenly,
she is just doing it, bloody knees bobbing.
Copyright © Gary Lee Nihsen 2016
Gary Lee Nihsen, born, 1962, in Sioux City, Iowa, attended the University of Nebraska, Omaha, studied German language at the Goethe Institute and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, Germany, and received a MFA from Vermont College, Norwich University. He works as a freelance translator, editor and tour manager and currently resides in Berlin, Germany.