January 13, 2013 in Features

American Life in Poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. poet laureate, 2004-’06
 

Kansas is flat and we all know that. So, where does a boy go when he feels like sledding down a hill? Casey Pycior, raised in Kansas, tells us.

Sledding in Wichita

As cars pass, laboring through the slush,

a boy, bundled against the stiff wind

in his snow suit, gloves, and scarf,

leans on his upright toboggan,

waiting his turn atop

the snow-packed overpass—

the highest point in town.

First one car exits, and then another,

each creeping down the icy ramp.

The brown grass pokes through

the two grooves carved in the short hill.

As the second car fishtails to a stop at the bottom,

brake lights glowing on the dirty snow,

the boy’s turn comes.

His trip to the bottom is swift—

only a second or two—

and he bails out just before the curb.

It’s not much, but it’s sledding in Wichita.

Poem copyright 2011 by Casey Pycior and reprinted by permission of the poet. American Life in Poetry is supported by The Poetry Foundation and the English department at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.


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