I used to think the devil lived in Fayetteville, Tennessee, though
there's a sort of godliness in the abandoned music shop where a
Romanian teen once bellowed at me over a violin, To play, this hand
must be stronger. This after getting glass in my shoe soles from the
parking lot, after wanting to be the source—smashing bottles to
watch the greens and browns make oceans to lose your sons in. At
bottom, you get infrared glasses, see God in scales. Here I must be
watered—every morning a spectacle—and there's a woman for
I prefer the quarantine
where we banked on makeshift
weapons—anything that could
file to a point over the toilet.
We put our faith in herbs.
Shirts were swung out the window,
and even this was faith somehow.
For those of us who fell to scarlet fever,
panic had to be swallowed whole.
Bats tucked into our chimneys
before the final hush of light
silenced over the ridge.
Maybe we didn't think of them at all,
not so much nestled as crammed
one on another in the square foot
of brick, but one summer,
I'm telling you,
there were bats every night.
Stag, you say, as if you meant wildlife, not a polite word for driving
oneself to a party, drinking soda, and chatting up other old ladies
who'd rather—and would there were a polite word for this—be
elbow-deep in the goldfish pond it took outliving one husband and
shooing three children out to earn. I like fireworks as much as the
next. That is not the question. Now is the hour of miracles, when
no one's watching—throw me back.