Under the Nancy Grace of Weather

You’re reading a book on Jim Jones.
Tomorrow, you are forty-one. Today,
you are 5'1¾", Jewish or nothing,
combing the shore for fossils.

Watching you, I am 5'10", an atheist
Personist. You have tinnitus,
metallic tree crickets in devil stereo.
Nothing works & here we are.

The last leaves dangle & shiver, dull
orange endangered bats about to die
in their sleep & crowd the ground
with their rhyming corpses. You’re trying

to locate the exact pitch & pulse of your
cricket possession. You’re a radio not quite
in tune. I’m foil around the tip. There’s
lightning beyond. Thirty years earlier,

I’m sitting on the beer cans in my
neighbor’s back seat, the decades’
precursor to you saying, “I always loved
you; it’s not your fault,” as you drove off

to do whatever. I jumped in the passenger
window you’d lowered to say good-bye &
you drove off, closing the window on me.
Cull. A remix with a man beating a dog

with a stick, the dog’s pads beating
the concrete in retreat. I open the book to
Job. I open the book one hundred times
& always open to Job. Later, you pick at

rocks creekside & I write of you picking
creekside at rocks. I’m spoiled. We’ve been
here—precisely here—many times. & we’ve
never been here. You return with a hog-

nosed rock, some fossils, these scraps
written at you, from the memory
of the ecosphere of Big Marty’s back seat,
nothing changed. Like kitchen sink to fruit

flies, my gray brain this week attracts an
opportunistic & minor storm. Waving
them away, I hope to remain mysterious
as a left boot & lumpy contractor’s bag

on the shoulder of 71 in the empty weight
of rush hour. What manner of carcass
am I? Do I warrant a shovel or hose
or a vulture’s sky burial? The buzzard

vomiting before take-off just reminds me
again of you (Dramamine, swallowing it all
back down on the El), then of us (it is
resourceful & familiar, employing our exit

strategy from these last few towns).
This is pain specific to extraction: gingerly
digging a bullet out with a flame-warshed
knife, wiping off on a gospel of the beauty

industry, spitting three times. I nod my
head (its inner fecund nest beating 220
times a minute) instead of passing out
until I pass out. I let the dog sleep

on your pillow while you’re locked in the
psych ward. I hate this. I only notice these
windows when the lights are out & they
try—friend of a friend—to balance

the night & me looking to it lovely &
heartbreakingly sweet as this dinner alone
in a cafeteria. Sad & dear as this grilled
cheese for one, hospital vending machine

lunch for one, this breakfast from
QuikTrip on the way home, for one, tired
& happy & worried & supremely present,
for once, in this bad idea breakfast burrito,

highest form of art, marred & bar-coded &
bound to end at least a slight disaster. The
nurse at the front desk can’t help that he
smiles like a pervert, nor that the Main St.,

USA streetscape through yonder ground
floor window brings out the plaster in the
glim of his half-gaze. To talk to him is to
fall down carpeted stairs, to stick a jay

-feather behind each ear before jumping
off the roof. I’ve nothing to tell you. Still,
we spoon. We collapse as one. Only as
many shadows as lights we forgot to turn

off. As the days carry, sometimes the walls
look like meat. Sometimes I’m dead & so
hide from our bills just to feel hunted.
Then another month is over. Thank God.