Good Boys and Girls Look Away from Death
Elegy with New England Roadkill
In good towns, good houses mourn what dies
outside by closing windows.
Bullfrog caught in a mower black-red. Driveway
chalk gray-red. Tire-tracked doe red-red.
Under a sycamore my throat whirls from pity to
nausea. The suburban sky does nothing, sees less.
Another small chest deflates at the edge of my vision
before gas tank heaves & gut tries to follow.
The angel on my left shoulder finds something of
interest in the windshield blur of road then red,
body then blood. He bites my ear, pulls hard
my lashes. Look, he insists, where I point.
Where shells split. Where color leaks. Look, he
demands. My own palms spangled with crime.
He walks across my blades & drags a fleshy bone
behind him. In lurid dreams I resurrect them all,
or they refuse to leave, guilt dressed as clemency.
A frog or my fingers, the blade always a blade.
In good towns, good children collapse
snake holes, heel away ant hills for sport.
Above us, a grey-necked warbler shrieks & shrieks,
trills a humdrum dirge for these ordinary deaths.
I drive on, bound by time. He sings, knitted
to his perch on a telephone wire, eyes
fixed to each body I blur past, blooming car
after car like poppies on pool water, red.
Photo Op at Antelope Canyon
Where light passes through
Where light is most mercurial
Where light flees the ingress of deeper water
Where light works best on an iPhone, vivid warm
Where light, a certain slant of hibernal Light, oppresses
Where light praises the canyon of water-whipped stone
Where light fails to detect the mercury in nearby water
Where light leadens in my arms, a crowd forming Where
light, poisoned, rasps of the mercury in the water Where
light paints the evening wall & I take
an expected photograph
Where light probes my polluted skin
Where light harbingers a kiss or cancer
Where light illumes the days of
the dictator, actor, & poet
Where light or night triumphs
Where light boasts an illustrious vocabulary
Where light brightens the graves of those righteous
Where light flees from the mercury in the water
Where light comes to coax color from my eyes
Where light is a technology that allows looking
to control looking
What light shows me & I look away
Where the light of God is the same light that allowed mercury
in the water
Where light, what light
—is light liable
for mercury, the water?
Before the light flees I take
cluck, what a shame, all that mercury in the water.