Head a bee-buzzing stump, song
a cosmic background pulse, I lived
on pills & milk with thee in me.
From a La-Z-Boy abandoned
on the basketball court, I watched
you light up the KFC, part traffic
for the rush-hour ambulance, raise
weeds from asphalt cracks, cause rain
to come down like Adidas on me,
mofo of infinite faith. Trees
were your fingers, not prints or clues.
Never were you uppercase with me.
I’ve missed you since. Now balding
with back fat and ring of keys, I wolf
Mint Milanos over the kitchen sink,
spy on neighbors across the street,
daughter a bunch of grapes, purple
balloons stapled to her leotard.
She steps into the night, clutching
an empty pillowcase. Iron Man is first
to pop a balloon. Next is Gandalf,
though he said he didn’t mean to.
A girl without friends is just a stem
of shriveled skins by the end.
You were out there somewhere,
but you didn’t care. I searched
heaven for your face, found
only the moon. By dawn, it was clear
you’d been out all night—papering
yards, smashing pumpkins, drunk
and dressed up as God knows what.
Copyright © Owen McLeod
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.