A one night stand in Jackson, Mississippi.
The soft opening outside Cheyenne.
There’s a laughing gull on Miami Beach
& the ampersand tattoo you didn’t
regret getting in Portland,
although you kept forgetting
which part of your body you were
supposed to use for lifting
whole seasons of unpredictable
rage & flowering. You’ve practiced
steering into the skid. You’re only
nine miles from Comfort, Texas,
but you did not come here by machine.
You did not come to carry that gun.
Wet trees & idling trucks,
a whole shelf of expired pain relief
back in the back & behind that
the game where you keep paying
a hook to drop, grasping for the hind
of some bright half-buried animal.
We keep saying now more than ever
but I’ve never seen anyone leave this part
of the country with anything
but stone fruit or ash on their hands