LONG WINTER FARM
You’ve got to get to the country. The fields are empty
as if all farmhands have the clap. The trees have taken
off their fatigues yet no one’s wives rise to shoo
their houseplants out for exercise. Acne-scarred planets
are light years, soufflé years away, but toddlers
with twig pistols guard the cisterns. I’ve met albino elves
who harvest the guano smokebats leave in my lungs.
I suction-cupped a Baby On-board sign in the rear
window of a hearse. Clouds suck sun-sheen off the rocks.
I’ve a mound of creased choir gowns that need irony.
My favourite dog’s buried in the yard. She was dead
but she got better. Now I have a Mennonite’s fear
of the automobile. A raven puts on his soot and goes
to work the warmth from my algebra. Most guys in these parts
grow a goatee even though it’s cattle country. Come on
to the country, there’s still seats in the nosebleeds. It’s like living
below a dam built during budget cuts, loving a geography this much.
Why must this landscape look like luggage left unattended
in an airport to get our attention? Any resemblance
is purely reciprocal. I have an ex who’s on the run in Mexico,
or who has the runs in Mexico, or who is running Mexico.
I don’t know, is her hair art or a gaslamp mishap perhaps?
My dog and I were like two peas in an escape pod.
When cattle rose from those valleys, cankles in frost shackles,
I watched silent films with my eyes shut. My biggest mistake
was wearing white jeans to Rib Fest, but it’s for fun
us waxwings set controls for the heart of the sun.
Get thee to the country. I've fletched every sparrow in this war.
Our ash-eyed cremators have decided all’s lost and paused
their little holocausts. The mollusks shushed.
When the killswitch sun kicks on you can watch
the lunar rogues beeline into miles of turnstile trees, trees
belching out birds like a salesforce at the brink of banking hours.
Sucked in at dusk the way a rainbow sucks back
into an only child. Each tree the scale model of a skyproof roof
giving up its life goals. Each tree a little town like Jonestown.
I’ve used a mirror to repel myself down the mountain to these trees.
Break one’s wrist and you’re an arborist. Each night the police chief
sings my alibis as lullabies to his sweet niece. Anyway,
there's a dog over there. I've got to go. Come,
come tend to me, I tend to disagree with victory.
If there was a book about Long Winter Farm
it would begin, A river is always too curious of its end.
From Long Winter Farm, a broadside (Odourless Press, 2013) by Jeramy Dodds