How it Goes Down
Swimmingly, I fall into it—
the vegetable cooperation
of light and labor.
Useful in a way
that shouldn’t be paid for,
and I know it. I know it.
Yet, I can’t decide if it is a decision,
being drugged through the day
or rubbed against it like sandpaper,
undiagnosed. I know
the root: fear that migrates
into every joint
and organ, striking like
baby cobras let loose
in a circus tent. Too many
people needing to unearth.
I volunteer to warm up
to the idea of snapping this body
like a twig—tossing it off
to the fields for the leaf rot
and clover to feed or eat what I am.
At Other Volumes and Speeds
Raining a little, a light mist.
I almost walk, not run, right past
a tree with a mouth, wide
as a toothless monster—
a site I must’ve passed
many times before.
I do not go inside it. Not
with my head or hands. Yet,
all around it, so many emptied
packs of cigarettes.
I could count them or call them
leaf, leaf, leaf.
Now, distant and all around me,
starts the dizzying hum
of those on their way. I imagine
a silhouette of bodies,
fidgeting in coffee lines, full
of love and outer space,
as I stare into it
that moss-lipped abyss,
as if it could
tell me what to do
with my life,
and it does.
Boat With a River
I make my bed almost every morning,
but not every morning.
Some mornings, I feel the river less
than gentle, push me more swiftly
downstream. Now, I am a clump of oak-brown
leaves, a boat for damsel flies, and spiders.
Another man across the street has died.
A young couple with one dog and one child,
stands where he is and is no more.
They look over at me,
the third eldest neighbor now, and wave.
Last night, I dreamed my pinky finger,
curling now was straight again.
I dipped it, dipstick-like, into the river
to touch the spine of a crawdad.
My whole body went cold then
warm again, and my face, leaning in
to see it, became the river too.