Michael Mars
primary shadows

years ago, in the second grade, success was measured differently
football fields and corporate ladders had yet to overshadow
primary goals, future titles of most likely to succeed,
class beauty, class favorite, all left for other days
the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound,
assigned to older kids, camped out near phone booths

back in the second grade success was measured differently
normally the best shadow hand puppets, the rabbit first,
then best crocodile, always the winged bird, the coup de grace
gracefully splayed on the lit wall, thumbs crossed, fingers flapping,
celebrating the winged flight at kitty hawk, a lindbergh solo
droning across the atlantic, maybe just a shadowed friend of the birdman
phoning from a high-rise prison, stocked full of new puppeteers


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