Alexander Rabb CC
As the Sky Holds Up the Earth
Once a small white feather blew around
inside my car for fifty miles before escaping.
Finding water is more an act of patience,
a small tumbler under a gutter down spout.
Buried cats can survive two months
by licking condensate off metal pipes.
Wild animals are in perpetual high school,
with broken hearts and fights and math club.
Listen to the raccoon’s warbling shriek for a lost mate,
or the way a hawk’s cry is shrill for its body.
Even the smoker’s hack of a bossy fox
or the vibraphone of antlers on trusted bark.
All of us are dreaming to be owls
capable of holding up the sky with a wing.
Everyone Wants to Know: How Did You Get Tuberculosis?
I tell a story about a hot walker at Pimlico
who rubbed a horse that wasn’t there,
swirling a curry and brush with both hands
into nothing, the way Van Gogh painted night.
He picked out its hooves, gouging into air,
and washed its feet like he was Jesus
with a badge to gallop gate to wire.
I say, Thanks, Adam, for giving me your cough.
It’s a cookie cutter explanation meant to soothe fears.
It works like ginger ale.
Adam led the horse around the shed row, stopping
at a bucket hung from a nail to let him drink.
My God, that horse was thirsty. He only wanted
to run and sweat and piss and drink and walk.
Adam broke nerve endings in his eyelids
while trying to find a vein that wasn’t busted.
That’s how it is, you describe someone
who can’t fully open or close his eyes any more,
and all that really matters is the living ghost
in his grasp who could crush or kill him instantly.
I only have general impressions of why things happen,
or whom or what or how much to fatten my quinella.
Distance is hard for a horse, but it’s what saves him.
Still, for six more months
you should cover your mouth if you want to kiss me.
I Thought Being a Dreamer Meant You Could Sleep a Lot
Damn it! I meant to love and be loved,
but I was hungry or I didn’t know what to say,
and my muffler was making a funny noise.
You think you have problems, I say,
kicking a fender, throwing the key at a bird.
In the trunk, metal parts in a vinyl bag,
but absolutely no charred chickens
twirling on a rod.
Nothing in that trunk but the carpet
I’d meant to drop off at the cleaners last year.
The heron grabs the key and flies off,
circling the pond, and drops it on a turn of turtles
sunning themselves on a log.
I kick off my shoes, toss my shirt at a branch.
Go ahead, arrest me for setting unrealistic goals.
Barrett Warner is the author of Why Is It So Hard to Kill You? (Somondoco, 2016) and My Friend Ken Harvey (Publishing Genius, 2014). His poems currently appear in Beloit Poetry Journal and Rabbit Catastrophe Review.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.