the other night, i waited up
while the living room burned to ash.
i recalled the way a concussion feels
and how changes brand us.
the cushions on the couch smeared and singed when
i sat down, but this was hardly an interruption.
he was bound and stitched. they hadn't a need to cut him loose.
after many times of him slipping, worming his way, logically,
out of those predicaments—the ones where
he swallowed the oaks and unbecame himself—less predictably each go round.
now they've given him a place, or worse.
the windmill yawns and turns over. the brass chimes
grunt, half in sleep. from the house, someone sings
and i will never forget this sound, the openness of that voice:
the only song—
there is only here and there and gone.
the cotton grows wings and rises,
rocking chairs bare their wooden knees.
there are amphetamines in the horses' hay,
psychotropics in the cattle trough,
on the dinnerplate, styrofoam cornbread.
a porch with a mouthful of boards says hello
to a church steeple, who asks
what is this cheap oak table tarnish smell in the air?
so i got tethered to
the fixing of things—
funny this jar won't open hot
or cold, funny this engine
had more parts before i rebuilt it.
the newspaper smells like moth-balls & tells nothing.
chalk it up to _____.
everyday people get annoyed when _____.
just as the first dinner
after a difficult hour,
so with the wind's scratch & the calendar.
and i am less and less myself.
i speak it when memory fails
i speak it when the river touches my ankles—cold
and close to meaningless.