The worn man’s face held up
to a mirror. Turning, he writhes.
Inside is the held thing, which—at
this long distance—he is loathe
to name. Not that naming would bring
the past back; or the memory,
an obsession with time & place, that seems
to be slipping away. A war between mind
& body. He has forgotten what to say.
The body: a thing to be drawn out
then expelled. The wind blows a black
hat off his head. He can’t remember
what he said. Bending down—fingers
brush through burnt grass covering the ground.
can we doused with hair-
spray then set on fire
throwing long matches in. Eye-
brows singed, throats scratchy
why Mark kept spraying
Chloraseptic until he got sick.
He almost drove the four-
wheeler into the pond later
that winter. I tried to ride
but couldn’t shift down.
The snowflakes caught my eye-
lids half open. Mark looked
like he was dancing, looked
blessed with antenna as he stood
in the frozen-blue night
playing an invisible guitar,
frame of white sparks glittering
his head, his hands
In 1999, eight months after
Mark died, I bought
the light-blue Lincoln,
then later that night cut
my left knee open, high
on Percocet, wrestling with
Nick Reed in a field. Some-
one tore a sleeve to staunch
the blood. I sat laughing
at the pop & swirl from
the fire’s sparks. Here sits a black
glass skeleton next to me in
the passenger seat. The deserted
playground where we ran
to the top dressed as scarecrows.
I keep a shoebox of cassette
tapes—hear their hollow voices
ring. Kept on my passenger
seat a branch from the tree
where they wrecked the Jeep
Cherokee. One night I lit
it on fire & held on until
flames licked my wrist. We’re buried
animals resembling the tar & light
Mark spoke about. I took the Polaroid
I had of his half-face, placed it in
the glove box. I turn the lights off
while I drive down Brosius Road.
Touch my scar. Call out dates at will,
collect wind, I open my hands to let go.
Close my eyes, nothing happens