Learning to Leave Home
I counted hydrogen ions, followed waste
through porous membranes
into silent bio-soups,
waited for the nucleus
late in the last century: pale
blue moons and sugar cereals,
Baghdad statues coming down,
loverly in the amniotic night.
Can you guess
where I’m calling from?
The county jail? A last station on the edge
of the last desert? Are you not
a friend of my youth, and is this
not the end of all things?
So I visited him in the hospital.
We read a story by Le Guin together.
The doors had no locks, not here.
Fishes and eels swarmed in pencil
on the table top between us.
The summer came. I learned
words I was ashamed not to know
already: apocrypha, Septuagint.
Even now these taste of barbecue
sauce, scraped from drive-thru plastic.
the cheapest burger barn
There were rumors.
The franchise owners
were forced out—
Texas sized. Even now,
the lot is grass-
as leeches sluggard
in the furnace jar.
All weekend I drove round town,
taking photos. Every shot stilled
Tastee Treet, Sizzler
husks, dread Mobil chems.
The night before I left,
cops came to the door,
wiped the record witless. Wished me well.