Brave Michael Dragonhead by Dave Shattuck

From the bridge a dozen boys
drop paper boats into the river.

Small as the cupped hands of mothers,
the boats drift and spin in the current,

plummet over the falls,
and are gone into the New Year.

Above the city rooftops,
like flower petals burning,

return to earth.

Below, down every street,
Drums echo off

glass and steel of the old year
to the new.

The boy in the dragon’s head
shuffles over specks of glass and paper.

His friends in the body
wind her through the crowded streets.

He turns her terrible eyes back and forth.
For a moment the boy wonders

if he is the creature’s dream,
sweating in the heavy skull.

They crawl out at the parade’s end,
boys again. By the river, they set it all on fire.

David Shattuck is a writing professor at Texas Woman’s University. He received a MA from University of North Texas and a MFA from Eastern Washington University. His first book of poems, Invisible Cities, will be published by CW Books in September of this year.