Check me on fleek like the night
kitchen mothers, pucker and hum some; come,
I like to liquor louche; let’s watch the flock
of spring-heeled bound as borough cabs
exhaust their carbon phantoms like a gauche
of fuck. Do you unzoo, unrouge
to rat as white, what roughshod? Do.
I want the carnal as straight metacognition,
Three weeks ago, I had an intimate and frenzied encounter with a wild bobcat as it was chasing my chickens. We locked eyes for a moment, and I quickly glanced down at its large, impressive paws. Tawny, speckled fur contrasted starkly with razor-sharp black claws. It ran off to the edge of the woods, first stopping to glance back at me before disappearing into the thicket. I began to think of a series of intaglio prints that would capture the essence of this feral fury.
In Ivan’s bedroom are forty-seven photographs of beaches, rectangles of sand and sun. I count them every time I visit my friend, and he kisses them like beautiful women each night. He passes me a bottle of vodka and opens his own, and I follow him out into the hallway, and we ride the elevator to his roof with a view of Siberia. We step out into the night so full of sun.
Basil from a pot on the veranda,
over-priced pinoli and pimientos
pressured into dust,
brassy olio from TJ’s rumored virgin,
Israeli sea salt from Whole Foods
from that shoppe in Wayland Square
where la señora with the Spanish speaking helper
and the bum preserved by lunges
reaches from her core
for briny lemons brie and sausage
taut ficelle flown in from Orly and loose tea.
When the drugs came, they hit all at once. It was the eighties, one in ten residents slipped into the deep of heroin addiction—bankers, university students, carpenters, socialites, miners—and Portugal fell into a panic.
After the mine fell quiet, the town slowly went to sleep. The barber changed his hours to Thursday and Friday, by request only. The bank hung a handwritten note to transfer accounts and securities by the end of the month. The last passenger bus pulled up to the curb and drove away.
The streets lie empty now, so quiet you can hear the leaves breaking from their branches. Ghosts on the baseball diamond, in the bowling alley, in the gymnasium. Long shadows across overgrown grass. The afternoon sun sinks early into the mountains.
A white woman, softly sobbing, was hoisted into the back of an ambulance. On direction from the state troopers, Harvell stood idly by. For the second time since he’d arrived, the woman said the girl’s parents were Claudine and Cordezar Brown of Greenwood, Indiana. By “the girl,” the white woman meant the body lying in the ditch, covered by a sheet. Harvell looked at the bus tracks; the skid marks a few yards away, left by the fugitive car; a pair of yellow shoes about a foot apart on the side of the road.