Where One Can Still See the Back of the Bait and Tackle Shop

Wasn’t I in this canyon six years ago?

I sat on that tire. My bald head in my hands,

crying—acting, but really balling—like rain in a b & w

film; I used a filter and shot the sun through

a cloud till it speared my eyes in the form

of a flare; didn’t I briefly consider running up

that sand cliff, carrying a word with me, carrying

a word to a woman, or another being made of flesh,

warm as my brother’s ribcage when he was six and I

was asleep next to him, growing up in the only home I have ever known?

I held that word in my mouth till it grew

too hot to hold under my tongue, for six years,

only to give it to you now—sloppily over to you—

in the sixty-or-so seconds it takes to read the chicken-scratch

this poem started its life being. I hope it was a

good word. As in, what’s the good word?

I think it was maelstrom. Or maybe magpie.

Like that Radiohead song. Over and over again.

Definitely, it started with an m.

A lower-case m. Anyhow.

It wasn’t a name. I feel it might have been a mantra.

Or a musing observation on the end of youth as I

knew it in 2011. Even though, I was 30 years old.

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