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Shelburne Falls
A hand in a crevice, the tongue at rest in the mouth,
and also,
the pressure of one body against another: summer, waxed and honeyed.

Rain on the motorbike, rain on the helmet.
Worms on hooks drift beneath the river’s surface. 

On the bridge of flowers,
a bushel of sweetpea, half-open yellow pods; the tropicanas bleed and fade.

Say it, you were alone. You were alone.

On Nightbeat,
a woman’s face split like a potato by a bullet, her eye on a spring,
she’d meant to lodge it in her brain, of course.

That’s you on the bridge of flowers, watching a dime drop into the water.
That’s you in the restaurant, nursing a clam plate.

Say it, this life we share, it will not do.

This dusty house.
These lackluster friends.
These children, and all their friends. 

Here comes my brother, in his woe suit,
                                                       his woe shoes,
                                                                    his woe hat.

Last time we saw him he waved from a ledge of blue light,
his belongings in a paper sack:

goodbye, goodbye.
Now he’s here again, in his woe car,
                                           with his woe dog,
                                                        how he yowls outside the door.

And all my cousins, in a local motel, watching strippers

insert fruit into each other;
the room with pictures of horses on the walls, the ones with white blazes. 

From here, I watch young boys leap from the rocks.

And there you are, hurling yourself into the air and mooning us.
And then the girl,

who chickened and slipped.
Her ear leaked as they pulled her pale body from the water.

Say it, you were alone. I was alone.

And the girl fell from the rocks,
and then what? Her head struck,
her ear leaked. I was painting my toes and imagining the deaths

of loved ones. She interrupted me.

Whether the bullet rents the face or buries itself in the skull,
if it blows through the heart,

still, the world, it grows less and less familiar. 

One town over, a man sketches before dawn,
wingèd humans, only he’s serious. His wife carves an ear out of clay.

Two towns over, a one-legged teen poses naked for a magazine.

Listen, seeds shaking in a paper ball,
the banana vendor’s whistling. 

Some day I’ll hear it,
the footsteps of my children as they stop to watch the video,

me when I lived with my brand new cat eyes:

she was plump and fell with a noise
blood leaked from her ear and a large man pulled her from the water

Summer: a body rebuilt. Then another.

We arrived in sunlight and drove off in sunlight,

sunlight through rain. Summer: nude and barely breathing,
the sky turning pink and a hush in the willowtops,

love by the humming light,
                                       field stars.

That’s you kneedeep in riverwater, thin as a crane.
That’s you working the lure from a fish throat.

We’re snaking back around now.

We’re cheering as the bull enters the woman,
as half-light falls on the roses.
This world
peculiar and, at the same time, filled with horses,
large photographs of horses,

their heads on fire.