Apples, crabapples, those waxy-blue juniper berries
(if that's what they are)--the way we threw them
at passing cars, because we were kids.
What roster of dogs, of prodigal momma's dogmas,
those color-coded chore charts, and it wasn't me.
But I'm sure I did something fusible, infallibly
infantile: shticks and stones and ribs
with quite a bit of meat still on them, so eat
what you've got and then ask for more, so I did,
I swear, I did my best, at times.
Carousel horses charging to glory and back again.
Frivolous revolutions of one. Born too late
for 'Nam, too early for what's on TV these days
(to which all fears aspire). And look at me, all
red-faced and wise: I'm a lion; I'm up to the rolled-over
whites of my eyes in the fourth-grade photo.
Fast forward to fifteen when my atman
tried to rise,
but I wasn't quite dead. And who among us knew
what that was before anyone had ever even heard of
The Cloud? Yet still the mist rises in my mind
off the marshes near Lake Lowell, till payday and
beyond at the sucker factory,
unloading bags of sugar all by myself because
I was the new guy; I didn't know my rights--
what my right hand was doing--my frozen hands,
from decoys strung along and from there to cracked
blackwood and "Barren Rocks" and "My Lodging's
on the Cold, Cold Ground." See: He rnaketh me
to lie down in green pastures.
Maybe there really were fairies in the garden,
with pollen or slug salt on their wings. And me,
with my pill bug perseverance, these fading eyes
to re-blink where I've been, on the brink, my hip-shot
hope. The road to Rexburg, El Dorado, Cuiaba
on outskirts of a dead jabiru,
so almost majestic ...
I love the pies, the magpies--the way they proliferate
like unbearable babies (my brother's boon) like
pallbearers summoned on short notice: teamsters
to carry Brian's crimes and a few of my own
on a flat-bed trailer to Ladies Night,
down 1-84 towards Bliss and beyond to Boise--
nowhere near Howe, but somehow it just so happens
I grew up there. Like those accident crosses, those feisty
flowers sprouting up for 110 good reason along 1-15
from Hamer en route to Missoula for a better banjo.