Feel your eyes. Cut along the splinter. Fold back. Where there is pain, take the breath. If you do it to one side of the body, do it also to the other. Where you go after this will change you: storms churning southward from Ontario’s shore, the inability of the general populace to let go of the most recent holiday, the lowest cycle audible to the human ear becoming something not quite royal. Every stray animal in Chicago is gathered here among the teacher’s robes tonight. The scene in Rochester was different: Sunday, a man with a cigarette between his lips, asleep at an outdoor café across from the empty concert hall. Staring the last of the night down: lit candle, little thunder, little lightning. Rock buddha with no face. Bell-shapped blossom ringing in the dirt. A suspicious glance from a distant picnic table. Words cut into the pavement force us to step over them. Belief in the train’s arrival brings brightness—belief in its departure, something brighter. Something misremembered about nests blown from trees. The soul: two shy donkeys huddled in the brick outbuilding’s cool shadow.
A bottle of barbeque sauce and amateur psychology. As executor, I followed the bullets, quivering, a little wide-eyed but unpunished. Instead of cornbread and rice: bastards, a red smoking jacket, and hairline fractures. I wish a stiff, rust-colored crudeness could put the notion into a coughing fit. I hadn’t realized the surrounding area was a million miles away, reduced to undertones and fajitas. Of course the source scared me: diehards, a fledgling coyote, busted ribs. Like being told you joined the conversation uninterrupted, like it had switched a brittle flashing warning for a waiter’s tray with a banana and a dove’s breast. My plan was sorrow: a shadow the other beasts wouldn’t realize disappeared into the possibility of tobacco. I almost rolled the pain under my hair and formed the unattainable into a woman’s face. I begged her somehow, trying a deep hallelujah. I asked without getting feisty. I talked anything that accented the leg of lamb. I began questioning the instructions.