Dan Bellm





Milk

Early in the morning,
three days a week
when I was five,
a man would come fill
the metal rack on the porch
with bottles of milk
and take away the empties.
Sometimes I’d watch him
through the kitchen window,
a small shy face
at a barely parted curtain,
peeking and hiding.
His name was Ike,
and he would wink at me,
as if caught in a secret
doing something he should not,
and sure I wouldn’t tell,
and hum a little scrap of tune
to seal the agreement,
and walk off with a tip of his cap.
It’s true;
I haven’t told until now.
Most every afternoon he got his name
into the Daily Register;
it often floated in the air,
spoken above my head;
he was the President,
but had a separate	
early morning life, and I knew of it,
contented that the world						
was made this way;
three days a week,
the President got up before dawn
and visited me,
going door to door
to make himself of use.	

Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9