When everybody is asleep, I float
to the kitchen, grab the oatmeal box,
then fly to my little creek below the plant beds.
I call my fish, “Here, Charlie, here, Pete,
here, Opal, here, Kentucky!”
I scatter oatmeal the way
Grandma throws feed to her chickens.
In the moonlight the plant bed covers
look like snow, the creek is silver,
while the fish
dimple their dimples, which turn into circles,
which float into the sky and ring the moon.
Why, I’m not a bit cold, though winds
charge through the budding trees,
it’s my magical nightgown that Grandma gave me,
it turns into wool or water or a flying cloud.
Yesterday Daddy told me,
“Youngun, there ain’t no fish in that creek;
it’s hardly big enough for crawdads
and tadpoles. The tractor wheels
have churned it to mud.
You can’t see nothing in that water.”
But last night a granny came to my window,
told me what to do to save my creek,
and this morning when nobody was looking
I took the tractor key and threw it
in the water. By this summer, the tobacco
plants will be as tall as trees,
I’ll build me a house of tobacco sticks
while the brown boys chase rabbits
in the alfalfa, and, whenever I want,
I’ll float down to the creek
on katydid songs, katydid, katydidn’t,
and I’ll watch my sunfish nibble at my toes,
I’ll tell them to dance a
rainbow moonlight dance, while I sing,
“I’m the Queen of the Katydids,
The Whippoorwills, the Screech Owls,
I’m the Queen of the Katydids,
Katy didn’t, Katy did, she did!”
--John Thomas York