Collecting bottles, tossing leftovers, taking out the garbage
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Tonight the trees bend over like broken
old women picking up their husbands’
empty whiskey bottles.
The film of sky never
runs out of frames, never
runs out of dynamism & greased movement —
it moves quicker than my blood.
Doesn’t it always come to this? — an awareness
dancing with my great ignorance. How right now
the moles are squealing,
dying, making love, sliding through the dirt
that holds me up, holds these trees up,
holds itself back, compact,
and how goddamn strong the sky is —
how sky holds up planets
like polished marbles shot into dark grass.
A barn owl slides down from the sky
onto a mouse — just like that.
I round third
and head for home.
Tomorrow I will wake to vacancies
I know every inch of,
a camera full of negatives;
dead whiskey will swirl inside me
like a warm rain stirs the sky
before sky flashes down onto pavement,
soaks the mailman, pours over
growling dogs, drenches car dealers,
and affects everything that walks through
with its perfect wetness.
On the fading streets of my Alliance
the girls with soccer balls cross puddles
in their own little rivers of desperation —
each one a teenager, each one inheriting
the teenage world. The mechanics who watch
with eyes as big as their mouths close the hoods
on cars as they have closed the hoods
on their women, working on them as needed.
Everything is beating, beating, beating
in this town. The sun has become relentless
in its insistence to pin us. The wildflower garden
is overtaking the grammar school.
And the bed above the tavern cracked
the floorboards when another man clenched up
into a huge sexual fist with MiMi —
Alliance’s first hooker. She’s so good
even the German cop likes her. Right now
a man hands her ten dollars and she
kneels in front of him, changing yet another thing.
But what has changed here? The brant geese
still return in May, the borders of the river banks
still break down every rainfall. Dinner is being cooked,
the cooper is closing shop, and in the barnyard
a chicken discovers a worm it finds delicious.