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The pages are a landscape for the aphid that crawls
across their edges, gentle.
The day holds a muggy sun behind clouds that move
to feel my skin, lazy.

Walking through a story and we’re at the part
where the neighbor cuts the blades of grass on his
lawn. Grey hair, headphones, basketball shorts,
and hairpin turns in early July with whatever
personal plan climbing the ceiling in his head.

The culture is a one story ranch for the man
paying the mortgage, monthly.
The day is a day to preserve what we’ve made
for ourselves, together, alone.

Skipping the prologue and we’re at the part
where I’m waking up on a Friday morning
and feeling my way downstairs, sitting on
the deck, eating an overcast moment that
has lifted the dry heat off the night before

where the dream that my father was dead
was real, in that moment, crying, asleep.

But my attention is to the day now,
a page, anew,
and Jonestown is just a book on the table
outside for me, awake.

Inside the pages there are parts
of warm redemption, Sunday services,
road trips, collard greens, prayer, ceremony,
and so many mouths who swallowed death
one day in the jungle,
so many bodies in the landscape.
Push your hand toward the flame
and find it lukewarm as its
bright and triangular edges evade
the dark touch of knowing
You will take this and walk
through buildings set ablaze and
wonder if you’ve mastered something
or merely developed a taste

I come from the right of the
minute hand, I ask
You shy child, with your face
turned down
You who hedges himself in and  
casts himself out
who hides behind the impartial sky
what edge of the knife do we use?
because you will be hacking at
corn cobs in a freezer on day
and it’s best that you know
You shy child with a dark touch waiting
what questions have an easy answer?
This one does if it’s any clue.
Someone small at the edge of the crowd,
tugs at their mothers raincoat and points,
a souring apostle against the group
that moves the museum in droves.

The magician in front is waving his hands,
his white glove to the hallways where
we enter first, before the others.
“Oh, lunch is at twelve o’clock.

Some paintings you’ll miss today
but you can come back tomorrow
if you make the trip downtown.”
(through Monday city streets)

That’s the way it is. Around us
the wind can almost seem like nothing,
like nothing is being pushed around and
normal is something immortal and fine.

A man with his sword in the air then
a city burned to the ground.
A still life of flowers on a ledge,
a naked woman, light in her eyes

The shape of the experience
Is made by the shapes before it
that disappear upon refocus
as squares go by in front of eyes

And bottom up the world is grown.
Not constructed. We watch the white
gloves direct our eyes both toward
and away, forgetting the latter.

Forgetting who tugged at a raincoat,
a pause before leaving the house,
the moment after we forgot
that we forgot, forgetting that.
In each raindrop
I heard a small storm
that dies on the windowpane.
Every night, and every day
It always stayed the same,
like a strange dream you have
Over and over
Until it’s over.

Now, it’s funny.
The weather parts,
the weather comes,
like a mirror in the sky
and I see myself
reaching for you,
and those ponds so densely lived,
in the green of your eyes where lily pads float by,  
where dragonflies skip along the edge.

I can only guess what breathes inside that place.
After all, the unexplored seems to rest
on higher shelves than I can reach,
exchanging stories with each other,
with shadows, chances,
psychics, paychecks, and future selves
and maybe the dark corners
of hearts growing closer
like looking for litter
gleaning silver on summer subways,
the pain,
the tears that fell,
raindrops from heavy clouds.
Winter came rolling in like it was meant to be
and the radiator became a deity again
and I would read magazines on the rug
and a few vagrants would freeze to death
while my nephew and I would eat
chocolate chip cookies

But hey
don’t worry  

Only a few
Paeans to the highway sound through
radios and membranes whose owners
bring to the same exit each
evening, the sun pouring through
their windshield as the A.C.
blows cool air in their face.

It isn’t wrong to dream so strongly
Everybody plays pretend
To dream is to sleep and to sleep is peace
Peace is to drive and shelter oneself
in polyester or leather safety
and songs that feel much the same
“One more and I won’t be here for you to look at anymore.”
says the toad, his body a pulpy mess out on the street.
“Toads don’t get hit by cars. We get crushed by the tires;
those big rubber wheels. ” he says,
“We get squeezed out of our bodies, those of us crushed. It’s
embarrassing to say the least, what with my this part being over there
and my that part being over here. It’s ugly and it’s shameful but
all I need is some more shame
to fade away into the road.
I’ll be a stain and then I won’t be. Here and there and then
nowhere at all. No one will remember me
or think of the creek I was born in or
the time I poked myself in the eye with my tongue.
It whipped back around and stung me like well…
no one will remember it anyway or at least
I won’t be around to see them bring it up
between eating flies and helping out the weatherman.
Did I mention we help him out? He comes to us on
Sunday afternoons and we tell him when it will rain.
If he’s wrong that week you’ll know he missed his visit.
See, sometimes he has to pick up his niece from, ah, wait,
here we go.”
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