Induced Still-Life with Punctured Lung

BJ Soloy


We are driving through the Pine Bluff, AR of song,
black trash bags nailed up as Jeffers Hawks
along the fenceline. We watch the sky

for lights, for fallen rock, for ice on bridge.
Falcons, stuck in flight over unplugged fields,

remind me of burying our pets in the yard.
I turn to you & say, “I love you, son,
for your awful smile, your urtext

on the history of smiles,” as men
on the radio sing of their souls.


Soon we are watching a Western. It is raining
in the Western. Everyone’s moustaches are rain-
wet and front-lit. We are smoking like in French

cinema, sucking poison from wounds, fighting
in the dust. My bloody mouth, its dying words,

fog the base of the dimming sky, the fire’s black
smoke redacting. Now it’s raining on Montgomery
Clift. Ease our convertible out of the drive

& into the grass in fucking Technicolor. Lay with me
in the yard as it transitions to mud.


We are old men, father, & the world
means us harm. We get religion

for a minute, contemplate the brush-
stroke required to render Christ’s nipple
& the garlic bulb orthodoxy of domes.

Initiates are dipped & salted.
We wipe our lenses with our undershirts.

You are given Last Rites & our banter,
old man, is decidedly monologue.
Your hair is short but your face like mine.

The lights come on. Your eyes & lips
floundering, each empty & fishing

against gravity, among sedatives.
There is snow, for now, on cars like fur.