In the Suburbs

By | 15 May 2023

We live in the suburbs of a concrete paradise,
and this is not a country evening, but an abandoned animal
with eyes all over its gray and brown body.
It blinks, trying to see me better through the knotted, matted hair.
Here, after 9 p.m. the moon is boarded up with yellow planks,
and there is a heavy padlock on the gate to the Milky Way.
A bat gives a squeak: a clock-faced owl
has grabbed the poor one in its claws.
Tiny windows are blind with dirt,
and look like black and white icons with octopuses in them.
Tall weeds grow on the roof, and the porch is
a wooden playpen, two thirds of which are rotten through.
A dog’s barking sinks like a screw bolt in a bottle of
kerosene and purple magic.
Melancholy is like a piece of a polished rail that hangs from a star:
you bang and bang your head against it, but quietly,
without much swishing and swooshing. It’s so good,
it’s so good to live and die
to just live and die quietly,
without actually living or dying,
among the crippled and disappearing wildlife.
Look, here’s a coin, but of what epoch? The dirty tail is unreadable.
What epoch? What empire?
A human life is not much more valuable than a matchbox or a packet of salt.
Burn and cry, slowly, until morning, year after year,
under the shoe-polish-colored sky.
The childhood of the animal has passed here, and here is where it was forgotten.
It was chained to a ship, but both the chain and the ship have turned into dust.
Here is the place where you take off the wig of civilization
from your bald pink brain
and don a nimbus of burs, of sunflowers and sparrows,
and then the animal wakes up. It’s almost blind, it screws up its eyes,
but it recognized you,
and wags the tails of a tractor rut.
It’s dawn with the smell of hay, and motherland, and manure…

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