Along a fence line with my cousin, I point into the fields
and say something about gravel that used to run
through the property, a county road for the region.
He hands me a jar. Says he made it himself.
So, I take a swig and picture the rust of a barn’s roof,
the burn of gasoline. “Apple flavor,” he says.
He takes back the jar and I choke out, “Good.”
In my throat lingers a pillar of heated glassware, my tongue
a sprig of cinnamon or acid talons, another gesturing animal.
I wonder if Kentucky willingly gave up its hills.
If heaven could be something we’ve swindled of the land
and if apple flavor is the poorest choice for anything heavenly.
Is numbness the same as comfort? I feel anxious in crowds.
There’s a crowd in me that wants out, wants goddamn air.
Then, I remember: I am along a fence line with my cousin,
talking about the past, as if the past is a godly thing.
It’s not. And maybe what I hold in my empty palms is sacred.
But who am I to speak, with the earth in my belly?
A Little Less
Say hello to the scab
on my neck from shaving.
I always get myself
at the Adam’s apple,
as if the first man
has come up to haunt me,
kicking out a little blood,
a little macho hunter,
with his entrance.
I dab the mess
to erase what I can,
and rake away
the tiny spears
that pepper & puncture
I am a little less,
the lone window
of a torn-down house,
a place from which
I watch the cars,
their bumpers moving
battered & in shadow.