Pine for sky, low at first, hands, ankles, then every transitory as man wants her baby gives lungs and flies. This is how you keep your secrets. Ten and two and drop her down, this world locomotion, tear in the stratosphere, pink walled our booth, does time even pass, you hold yourself together so. All your sons and daughters took off on two feet. Where the wing came from we won’t know.
As if my ghost were his mother coming back, stern eyes, the town with the river running through it, smell of creosote she bottles, brings in as brush for winters when it cannot. You hang it in the bathroom, lights and bunches to bear you through pine needles or none in a glory town, every fat owl homing the hayloft when dusk outs the land. No, you make yourself a woman only lovers for the bed is perfect even as you dirty your hands behind the bar again, all creature or what is that, her voice coming back at a childhood pitch. Burst or do your eyes not glow animal of night. These things bring us closer to what we can’t. Carful past the border, shells and do not call me by my nickname, clapped hands in the yellow light against her maiden selves, sleep for her too and her as well I might.
Split the marrow one cumber your last best bet you went believing the days do swan over, for if you do or rather give your hands to one doldrum or another, latch the gate to every hardest thing you know. I held my body to green rows and let him run. Trumpets popping off, dirty streets, that garden that grew only weeds, perfect little shotgun in a town of rain I shook off back west fast as a pistol, boys in boots, good lord boys in boots, you could swing a rope around every thin-waisted boy last slept your bed when the Lord begot or big bang done us all in, we hipped ourselves bodies to each other, said Mary all wine-kneed, got lost out in the desert and as it always does, the moon rose up, gave us baby mercy limbs speeding through red lights for days, fuck all the lost things snagged in the bramble past the river, you lost more there than the obvious and though it’s sad, the bed you sleep, the time you keep, held you, as did hooves, feet firm in the stirrups, beating like hell for home.
Whereupon firecrackers and the world ignites, I stayed in bed all day, the circumference hollowed long after those fire-slinging maestros, these things rotten southern girls know intrinsically, hide all your jewels in the earth. Here are the keys your companion wasted on his worth; idols, jacked legs for days; regardless, the present is loaded with mud and ire never mind how I grew a wild thing, forgot about hands clamoring a kitchen space, how her country husband wrote Reagan’s greatest speeches, auctioned off her best jewels in a small town scenario against her childhood, break-ins every year, everything lost in invasion. Bear arms as your country daddy would have it, blue suede and fuck it all. There’s too much chord on the holler, these myths a man says make dreams of, to please her stay in bed all day; the frivolity of every Spanish word I thought to lay the lover in some spell or cast him bronze. It’s what’s going on the barn is that matters, calves and all your ponies running straight the moon some midnight broadcast nothing pop culture, Mustang car parts for sale Jesus the lord, you don’t need the moon’s phases or milk anymore they run the detriment, hard times need daughter beliefs in what’s firmly staid, pickaxes, flashlights to hunt.
Shelly Taylor is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Lions, Remonstrance (Coconut Books Braddock Book Prize, 2014) and Black-Eyed Heifer (Tarpaulin Sky, 2010). The anthology Hick Poetics, co-edited with Abraham Smith, is out from Lost Roads Press (2015). Recent work appears in Guernica’s “The Future of Language” special issue.