Leaves of Smoke

And I don’t know their names
even after sweat dries in wings
one million glass seconds trapped
in a synthetic box, small gears


inside the mind clogged with ash
reflect toward ice behind a pane
of glass, which traps
your words I attempt to block
out: “I know what I do hurts me…”


kitchen table; radio; guitar strings;
doll arms; Steel Reserve; day-
planner; VHS; broken pipe; Canadian
Club; burning plastic; slanted back
step; Mississippi John Hurt; razor
blade; Rachel; hot rail; Lincoln
Town Car; Bruno Schultz; casement
window; gargoyle; extinction.


The letter sent in wavy writing, which read “I
can no longer shave because my hand shakes.”


I didn’t return for your funeral, though, I lay
on the burial plot your mother-in-
law bought for you inside the small cemetery
in Footville, Ohio.


Thanksgiving, 2006, before I went away
for a year, which you didn’t mention,
thank you.


We walk in the middle of the road no
one around. In a faraway field a black


dog runs fast chasing a faster thing. Green
flannel, a cap with flaps covering your ears.


Everyone back at the house waiting for us to eat,
quiet now, our breath makes smoke in the air,


train tracks, frost under our black boots.
Drunk on Wild Turkey, we both laugh
sprawled out over a clot of leaves.