Now it is not a man pinned eviscerated
to a barn door and stretched mothlike
to show his brisket,
the drying jewels of his guts
and his teeth red-tinged, eyes
scappled bald. Now it is
not a plum-colored sky over
foothills of ruined chimneys,
the world forever October.
Instead, I stand in a field where there is no
barn, and the pinned man, my father,
has been let down, sewn
back to life: He walks through his home,
loneliness his dark carapace.
His mother lies in an oak box
in a South Carolina graveyard. By now
her eyes are fused and sunken. By now her mouth
is a leather smudge. She wanted cremation
but the family would not have it.
The bones of her fingers poke through skin—
The moon emerges. The smell
of smoke blooms on the sweet-sharp air,
and I feel a joy under the thin arbor
of passing clouds. Stars shimmer,
exact. I feel a joy, because there is no secret
order of moth or plum, chimney
or bone, only the pungent fact
that somewhere, somewhere beyond
my sight, a fire burns part of this
land gone, gone.
—from Rattle #39, Spring 2013
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