Morning dew scent of burnt sienna,
a haze hovers about chest high.
Tarred telephone poles bend over the road,
the picket fences stretch and yawn
with little wisps of smoke puffing
and wafting over distant chimney stacks.
Snow blew between the slats of the barn
and all the discarded alfalfa bales molded,
the paint mare put her delicate hoof
through a gopher mound. The winter ice
widened the crack in the brickwork
underneath the sagging cornice, whose
rain gutter was heavy with the slush
of blown leaves and fallen acorns also scattered
around a slanted doghouse below, now empty,
a chain leash partly buried in the packed dirt,
an overturned metal bowl, crabgrass sprouting
between flattened tractor tires. I’m tired.
I’m tired and living in the city,
sipping potable whiskey, shifting
uncomfortably on this swivel barstool.
An impeccable man on a bright screen
flaps his lips, and then a blonde waves
her magic fingernails at a flickering
weather map. The jukebox is too loud.
The barmaid wants me to stay and drink
and regale her with tales terrible and true.
So I tell her about Lieutenant Maynard hanging
Blackbeard’s severed head from his bowsprit.
I talk about a refulgent cylinder foraged
from an abandoned hospital in Brazil,
how a poor scavenger’s family died because
he wanted to craft a radiant ring for his wife.
I don’t mention gone, being gone and done,
done with laughter and rocking chairs,
with Thanksgiving, being called ham hock,
the endless rumble of the CSX transport
at 5:30 in the morning, when the smell
of her hair reeked the most like burnt sienna.