Skin windchill-frozen, remote, alone, three hour’s drive from home

Set out at 2, fail to race the afternoon, outrun your mood

Vultures crowd around at sundown, the sun muffled, hushed, rained-out, crushed,


shadow trickles in through cavities in the canopy, the valley blackly drowned.

Tripping on tree roots in thick, dark pine forest. Fungus. Conspiracy of trees.

On a washing line whirling on an empty farm clean sheets shiver. Pull tight that


bright windbreaker. Cold cow pat. Fight with high school wife in a lost forest

on a bed of soft pine needles. Nettle. Quicksand. A slap.

Chained gates. Webbed shed windows. A sky stifled with sighing pines


stops the chopper spotting us. GPS technology rusted as rock. Stand frantic in the road.

Uncaring cows, soggy clouds, the toothless codger’s chuckling tractor,

his rusty Winchester. Glimpse of his sensitive, secret daughter. Wave down a passing van


with hippies, absurd, out of their heads. Relief. Orange empty light. Broken heater.

Geyser radiator. Wrong map. Battery flat. Baby shrieks. Wife weeps. Lone lamb bleats.

Magpie with bat wings clawed clown on water fanged toddler pink eyes foaming jowls


Despair. Numb on liquor. Hopeless against nuclear war. Hopeless against summer

locked in a Chrysler, claustrophobic as sharing a home with a cheater. Brain rotted, soft, monstrous from the bad beer

sucked to stop the sting of the snow in a tenement in North Dakota somewhere.


Monday is a rescue far away, one half-turn of the world that can’t outrun

The rabid cop, the dedicated dog. Alone against the country, alone on Sunday.

The uncleaned corner of the week. Walk the plank in worry. Ice cream stop in Derry.