The Wounded Father
the wound of the wounded father
is covered over by
                      dead leaves that fall
from a branch
                 in his shirt pocket
the wound is
like a silo being filled and then
emptied of grain
the wound is
             like a department store
                                                      window display
being changed, the manikins
awkwardly picked up
                                      and moved, dressed and undressed.

the wounded father lurches through the forest
looking for the elk that was
                          part of himself
all night
             he is staggering
holding himself up
              against a birch tree
and then another birch tree
until he falls and the elk
            crashes through the brush
                                               and also falls
and their bleeding
                          makes a stream that flows
through the roof of my mouth

the wounded father
                              is spread out on a table
as we gather round
            we can hear the wound hiss
            like a rapidly leaking tire
but the hiss
             is hot and full of splinters —
each of us chews
             on one of the father’s fingers
as if we were sucking
               a crab claw and playing
               the flute at the same time
our eating fills the room
            with odd, hidden cries.

suddenly a breeze
            tears through the city streets
the manikins in the window
                                             topple over
          can’t stop themselves from laughing
          the grain can’t fit in the silo
there is too much grain
          the roads are blacktopped repeatedly
the rivers have been
emptied and the water stored
in an ear
                         it makes so much sense
                            there’s so much of everything
we can’t get there anyway.

I’m driving on a road around here
              I remember you
              I see you staggering over there
                                                in those trees
                                               with the elk
you fool, you lonely, gutless
              you bled all over everything
              not knowing what to say
helpless to
                staunch your wound
                — it’s dried all over me
it’s old mud full of hair.
and not knowing what else to do
             I drive up and down the road
                                  faster and faster as if
I could make the planet
              spin faster and for the fourth time
this month
I arrive too early to find the doors
                                      even in existence
            but somehow the mouth
            of the wound closes
                                               with the pressure
            of hot rubber, and mistaken time,
and the white fire dreamt in protest.