We Can Make a Home of It Still
Of the three-legged foal shot before mother could abandon it. Of the wolf lapping rainwater from the bowl of a dead wolf’s pelvis. Timbered mountains slope into timbered hillocks. Into valleys. Unmoving steel roosters straddle wind-spun homes. We don’t talk of the landscape we’re born into, onto; this territory mapped on dried horsehide. We unroll it gently over earth to read the earth by. Rocks weigh down the edges so our oceans don’t collide.
From the covered bridge hang two unpaired sneakers and shreds of rope from older times. We only talk about ghosts when they’re nowhere in sight. The planks beneath us breathe out dust, and when we’ve reached the other side how quickly dust settles. Quickly and silently, everything settles back. Just enough rope left to hang a cat by. Isn’t that what they say? When a cherry tomato bleeds all down my daughter’s pale chin, she tends to laugh. I laugh at the contrast. I know all this means something.
A clothesline is only tense until it snaps. Those maples she says have all the lights of heaven inside grow monstrous at night. When they built a new railroad six miles south of town, the brakemen took to whiskey and the pews came alive, the gods a bit darker than I remember from childhood. Everything has a breaking point built into its architecture. I tell her it’s not so bad wearing wet clothes to school sometimes. You’ll get used to the cold cling. It’s not so bad getting used to things. Like the silence of old steel tracks or the wolves that have always been here inching closer. Like the luminous trees out back with beasts living in them.