Nebraska’s Ted Kooser, U.S. poet laureate from 2004 to 2006, offers “American Life in Poetry,” a column on contemporary poetry.
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. Introduction copyright © 2012 by The Poetry Foundation.