To Pete, who crushed my dog’s skull with a hammer
Let me walk with you across our front yard, where the grass runs brown where the pool has killed it forever-dead. I know you hate that. The look of it, a stain from your porch. The dog’s bark keeps you awake. We received your letter. We are away. You hear the howl and the cry. See how fur sheds in clouds this time of year like cotton rolling, sticking to the ground. Take her from the kennel, dragged by the collar, and load her into your van. Take her to the woods by the water tank. By the marsh and the nothing place I played as a boy. What sort of thing uncoils in your belly when you do what you do? When you drag her by the tail now to the marsh and the crabs where do you think you are?
But What About Forgiveness
What about living angels & the Methodist women selling pork dinner tickets & nailing my written sins to a plywood cross? What about Offering It Up to a famous chocolate bust of John Wesley, foiled in gilt like a Ferrero Rocher? Say what about picking rocks from a riverbed / holding each until it’s blood-warm & nailing my whispered sins to the water’s deepest gouge? What about coming home to those first, sharp prayers made on gas receipts & bits of shale / & What about them waiting / rattling serpentine in the toe box of my boot?