vantage

VioletXyz 1584

 

her green eyes cast out

a mile through the

tinted glass wall

in the arrival room

 

our first son marvin

flying up from california,

he sent pictures

holding fat stringers

of brook trout.

 

i remember the summer i thought

the whole world was mine to eat,

i demanded she fuck me

with whore spit on my cock.

 

the same night marvin,

weighing all of 113 lbs

shouted, up the stairs,

i’ll fucking kill you.

 

me in my prime, full of fine

sauce and late lunches, ambling

down the stairs one leg at a time,

lead belly of a hundred mile pond,

tall like every elk, every writ

mounted, downed, dressed,

old boys and hand shakes hard won.

 

grain towers, whiskey nights

out-lasted, the quarry, the grange,

long in the tooth, tongue smooth,

the light in a charming man’s eye.

 

bypasses, blue laws, water rights

the drink too busy, afternoons

my suit, my roots sunk

in the court typist’s panties.

the taste of her candy-drop lips.

 

i came home smelling like

fucking, in my stupor,

i thought it any other night.

down the steep stairs to piss

i would hold the banister,

and turn the corner,

sit down on the toilet

a chisel in my temples

sour mash mouth dry

burning eyes closed

a swimming

 

from the bottom of the stairs, marvin

screams like a horse in lighting

leave this house or I’ll kill you

 

 

marvin, all sinew and virtue

knuckles like a maple knot, hard

summers spent splitting stone,

penny nails pulled from busted pallets,

knocked straight with a claw hammer

 

he punched me in the bladder.

then he punched me in the throat.

he kicked me in the thigh.

my legs gave out, he

clutched my hair in his fist.

gave me a blackout thump,

for good measure,

 

i could smell it,

my scalp split on

that same damn nail,

i hammered down 20 times,

it kept coming loose

that warped floorboard

i never should have tacked in

when i built this house.

it always squeaked

at the base of the stairs

when i snuck in at night.

 

i beat the hell out of marvin,

one last time, later that summer.

my heart almost gave out, i split my

knuckles. bruised for three weeks.

all these years later, my ring finger

still clicks just lifting a fork,

the lord blessed that boy with

a granite skull and cheekbones

even my gnarled fists

couldn’t crack.

 

that summer i left rachael, my wife,

mother of our five daughters, and three sons.

now i live in this double-wide, it smells like dust

and microwave dinners. i prick myself and soak up a drop

and i stick a little paper tab into the monitor

it beeps a number. my damn blood sugar.

i sit on the couch with a popsicle.

this woman on the television

is waxing her legs, with nair,

white lily and desert rain.

 

now i tilt at windmills

like a one eyed bull.

and i will drift

down river

forever.

 

was it bourbon,

or my own black soul

possessed me…

 

last reunion, i am

sick this late summer, 76

driving my old lumber truck

up this narrow road blasted into

the cliffs along the reservoir

 

my daughters and sons gather

in the yard of that old blue house,

their daughters and sons from the city,

gutting fish, and running through sprinklers.

 

cake stuck in my throat,

rachael’s green eyes,

curls still falling

like black grapes

from her forehead

 

smoking on our stone porch,

she cuts a green stick

for our daughter’s daughter’s daughter

to hold, roasting a hot dog

over the coals.

 

i think a little later on,

a few more sunsets to reflect,

i’ll take a good long

nip on the old bottle

and point the barrel

into my temple, and

pull the trigger.

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