The Monday Poem: ‘Dutch Boy’ by Doug Dorph

The Monday Poem is brought to you by Professor Jim Gormley of the English Department. Enjoy!

Dutch Boy

To one side, the North Sea like lead,
to the other, tulips, too bright, too colorful,
and your finger hurts. You are tied
to the big belly of the dike, your finger
a reverse umbilicus that sucks the boyish
into responsible sea. My complaint concerns
childhood, the premature loss thereof.
Mother, from under one of her headaches, told me - cook dinner:
fish sticks, spaghetti sauce,
beef Wellington, hummingbird's tongue under glass.
How did I know we wouldn't wash away
like silt in the burst? The Provider,
the Protector, the Pleaser, Good Boy - 
it's ingrained like the fat that marbles 
choice beef. But there's no choice.
When the gloomy sea threatens, you're there
with your trusty finger. The bicycle lies forlorn
on the gravel bicycle path in the shadow of the dike.
The family windmill is brittle and blue as a scene on a plate.
Yet your other hand, the one with the free digit,
reaches for the painted flower heads
bobbing in their painted flowerbeds.

—Doug Dorph

Doug Dorph was born in New York City and has lived in all 5 boroughs. His poems have been published in numerous magazines including The New Yorker. He won a New York Foundation for the Arts grant for poetry and other prizes. His drawings and paintings have also appeared in magazines. He has been an editor of Mudfish for over 20 years.