Sunday, March 20, 2011

You Can't Find Your Heart?

You Can't Find Your Heart?

Shadows fall.  Raggedy children
use coffee can lids to dig
for honey-colored pebbles.
The village waitress passes by,
hardly notices them,
carries fried eggs
to a hairy-eared man in a rest home.

The local preacher tries on a satin gown
as his wife knits a toilet seat cover.
They are on a diet and soggy corn flakes
catch light from the first fever-sun of summer.

Driving home into a dusty wind
from the coulees north of town,
the bartender strays from his usual route,
parks his rig in front of the warped house
he was born in, swallows the last of his beer.
The strangers inside are from another land.
They smile as their door is kicked in,
speak to the bartender as if they
are all friends, speak of the day-to-day
muddle at their drive-through sandwich shop.

Someone has wrapped barb wire
around the county courthouse statue of justice,
sprayed her breasts flame-orange.
The restroom key at the Shell filling station
has been missing for at least two days
and the owner grinds his teeth,
believes he hears clunking from that territory,
fears a squatter has taken up residence.

The preacher's chunky wife sets aside
her knitting, drives north into the coulees.
She loosens long gray hair, takes scissors to it.
The Thomson Hotel has been dead for years,
but she checks in, climbs to an empty third floor
room with peeling gold paint and a cracked window.

In the school gym, a gimped mutt frolics
down court through droopy crepe streamers.
The spotlight aimed at the water tower
has been shot dead by a local shaved head.
Just south of town three glassy-eyed Emo kids
have scored a white goat, but what comes next?

Black cattle on a section of sparse grass,
long gone cavalary bugles at a sad tune,
a preacher's wife alone in a dead hotel room
with day-old chicken nuggets in a paper cup:
Oh, a bucketful of bright days is coming for sure.

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