/homeaway/

The drive home is a rabies shot, agitated,
you twitch from state line to county line
to places in between,
the coordinates slipstream daydreams —
You remember the road numbers:
145th, 194th
impossibly lengthy, made of pulverized
bonemeal and crunch coat,
those steel-cut graveled byways

You remember the inhabitants
rendered from bacon fat and ham hock
tourniquets and night shift salt licks
Or those pubertied boys and their
percussion kits behind the old band shell,
blasting canonfire flams back there
on Thursday nights, before the
sweating, stinking performance

of pops classics, patriotica,
the flags swatting the air,
or was that the yellowed sheet
music, free from clothespin
bondage?

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Reminders

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1.

It would be a lie to say that I didn’t know the dead man, but it would be the truth to say I can no longer remember his name. Too many nights filled with foreign smoke and strong drink. Too many days scratched away listlessly. But I know it’s still down inside me somewhere, being chewed up and digested again and again.

It’s been buried so many times, on the tip of my tongue in the pitch of nightfall, but never fully exposed. Maybe it will surface one day, as these things often do, when least expected.

I have wondered why I forgot the name. Before his death he was someone I saw a lot—you couldn’t say I knew him, but he was definitely a constant. We worked at the market for a couple months anyway. A friend of mine said it best over drinks, as we sat next to a shelf of nameless corporate nobodies at some long-forgotten bar in the legal district: it’s easier to forget a face that wants forgotten, he said. That was at least five years ago—my dog didn’t get hit by the bus yet, we had a president worth having, I had more hair. My god. What is five years but an endless and terrifying chasm that has the potential so suck away your very lifeblood?

Both he and the dead man now share a common denominator: both absent from my life.

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