I haven’t _________,
since smoke dried to salt in the lakebed,
since crude oil dripped from his parting slogan
the milk’s sky behind it,
birds chirping from its wig.
Strange, how they burrowed into the side of this rock.
Strange . . . to think,
and stepped through the flowering of a future apparent in the rearview mirror,
visible from its orbit
around a cluster of knives in the galaxy closest to the argument.
Perhaps it was September
that did this to him,
his hostility struck the match on hand-blown glass,
he had nothing to do with their pulse,
when rocks swarmed over
and blew as leaves along the knife’s edge
without even a harvest between their lies
they ignited a fire—
it reached sunlight in a matter of seconds.
It is quite possible
it was the other guy
clammed inside my fist
who torched the phone book
and watched blood seep from the light socket.
Two days into leaving,
the river’s outer frond flushes worms imagined in the fire
onto the embankment of rust,
mud deep when imagination became an asterisk in the mind.
In this hue—
earth swept to the center of the eye,
pulses outward from the last acre
held to the match’s blue flame.
and a thickening lump in the ozone layer
will appear as a house with its lights turned off—
radio waves tangled like antlers inside its oven,
in the hallway nearest thirst,
the water coursing through our clans
begins to evaporate
as it slides down our back seats—
its wilderness boiled out of our bodies.
“Apparition” is from Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press, 2003).