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and the road twisted on to his loveless

house and his cornfield dying

in the scarecrow’s arms.

—Robert Hayden

Today the sun

has fists, not rays. Nothing delicate

happens here. Watch

the beating that goes

ignored: The Circle, evening,

the monument in call

of war, a common Indiana

ranch w/the roof

ripped off.

Boruch says the Midwest is sieve, pass—

through, permanently

in transit, flux.

It is the get-here-to-get-there,

the sun’s mapped fists

in an orange 6 o’clock

beat down, the tenants

strewn about the concrete circumference, liquid

in states of rest, skin & bone

poured over the curb

of South Meridian, splayed

beneath a mailbox, propped against

a garbage can outside

St___b___s. The suits’

& walkers’ heads turn,

sidestepping the future

they escaped, eyes on

a latte, the next block.

Today the sun

has a better haymaker,

a better uppercut,

a wicked right/left combo.

Today the sun

is perfecting its roundhouse,

& his size 14 keeps connecting

left jaw, right jaw, you would cry,

but there’s no layaway

for tears. So you cuddle up

on an asphalt couch

next to your brothers & sisters,

the Styrofoam maracas

of cups & change lulling you to rest

like the pluck

of kalimbas in turning

signals, the basslines

car horns hang

in exhaust

cruising through your living room

on an airless city night.

from dying in the scarecrow’s armsFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2018
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Mitchel L.H. Douglas Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.