by Andrew Mitin
- The Home
Twilight moon through now-falling snow. The quiet flakes embrace over asphalt fissures of street bed. The world has changed since last the sun. Benevolent spirits have been decorating and not for any special Day. For this one. He rouses to the new world, deciphers alarm’s bleat. Hair pulls from beneath the silver wristband. Not always so painful this: consciousness of father’s time. Women: one now; two, though not for some a long time. Silence after difficult press why the button has to be so damn her unquiet churn. Outside the window is dawn and she will be up shortly. Slowly for a moment allow her supine warmth. One moment more for her body’s needful rest, before the demands of new desire’s pristine pulse. Remove soft coverings carefully. Duvet, now valance; rise, come and see. His toes wave then press into the carpet, sturdy now. Winter mornings were made for small families. Huddle together in the chill to bask in the groggy mood: of time-brewed coffee, the warming skillet; the tiny sprawl atop her soft blanket asleep is, yet in peaceful fullness. Awe. Red fists clutched and holding air beneath her chin tight jaw and sore, clenching still the wonder in home’s secret pleasure. The click of the furnace and mark the scent of heated dust day’s second coming a moment’s fragrance. Alone with the sizzle and pop until she emerges, tired eyed sleepwalker. Good-morning-buries her face in man-smell t-shirt. He rubs her back. Kisses hair mess, her lips tender offer for this baby notices mother’s closeness, somehow. Good-morning cries for girlfriend to tend too simple she harkens to unpleasant memory the small bedroom filled now with muted cooing. She speaks to the child’s now insistent cries, rising in true revelry that mother is, after all. He pours one cup, a second can’t remember caffeine while breastfeeding newly wet lips thrust beneath lid-crushed eyes why a worried look always upon its face unable yet to separate reality from dream and this, dreamlike he kisses warm, soft and quiet now. These small moments: a blip in a day a year, ever rapid flutters still substantial, building one upon the other a loving world in miniature. His lips release against warm smelling head, lingers there not vanilla, not talcum neither pleasant. It’s baby, she says in sleepy content costs the same, more his lips upon her now-turned check diaper mess more like checks the bacon. Flips curling fat, watches daughter lowering toward her matt. Anxious at approaching pink blur, her sign signifying very soon Momma’s hand will release squirming torso. The final slip from between bare flailing legs. Bottom-patted she strains weak neck. One final glance to her must be all departures final toward love and care;now stands, hands hip-sigh. He shuffles the strips, scoot and press. Little head overcome into the matt laid upon lately revealed hardwood labor-loved for home sobbing from will’s futility doesn’t know we know the squiggles succeeds only in chafing cheeks. Small nose twist, red fists succumb to disappointment, says. She’s wet, says. The indicted crying like mother like back turns to bacon tend. Charred strips go limp across the spatula and sweat onto paper towel. Shell-cracked eggs slip into bowl salt and pepper stirred some tabasco. Harried screams during changing why do they something about the skin the shackled ankles increase with heavy foot falls, says We’re out of diapers again with this You said you would etcetera yes blah blah blankly disrobes before his morning ceremony is consummated would the other stripping hadn’t been would be sleeping now changing to greet the charge that night not her likely someone inevitable suppose smitten with the cold and those oh so dark outside the engine turns with considerable convincing. In the hard-won roar the interior sings aglow with blue dials red numbers, a benediction gas pump yellow. Hail, wipers. He sits in the chill eyes to believe she once so breathing hard now and I too exhausted over miserable balled hands. A spasm against the frozen windshield then nothing. His lungs filled with the car’s silent cold fills the car with caustic cloud-breath that dissipates into ice slick boughs bared and still in lunar light shining upon pried loosening. The snap of malleable rubber and one fell swoop of an arm clears the hood of snow. Ice scraper stabs at hoarfrost. The pleasant grip should be comfortable the weapon-feel natural in the window now she scowling probably watches him chop at the windshield, reaching across too far and shaking her head at What? hands red-fingered tips splitting his whimsical way of charging without foresight the unintended consequences nobody tells life without, she often says, too literal my house filled now with unintended contributions to the well-being clear-minded and breakaway clear-glassed and humming toward a wonder of goods acre-walled and roofed whenever needed somewhere to go for a bit a while with miles of shelves a long while depleted every day then replenished.
II. The Market
A kind of magic at play here. Rabbit out of the hat is fish on ice; the lobster tank, the precious processors that captures still or realtime actual life that won’t watch for years then once and never again moment had relived replacing memory such rot the bread and the milk, now cans of tuna pears peas with ham half-aisle of sauces ready-to-serve soup condensed creams and butter and bottles of rye ale cases and gallons of mixers, sodas soldiered at attention and primary colored sacks shouting FUN breasts frozen and breaded thighs, T-bone and the rib-eyes have it that drink while the movie and watched her lying there just standing in the empty aisle illuminated again she said do that again and I not thinking her really there at first then glad she came to recall now, dearly. For all her coming years the shoes and socks, a profound selection of lambs wool goat leather gloves for grill handling tongs and spatulas scrapers, the charcoal and fluids went too far that head shaking I’ll shake mine at the magazines the ridicule from all quarters for every interest arrayed like flimsy roofing tiles take one up the gentleman quartered sounds about right for all they tell of man’s problems The Perfect Martini, Face Cream She’ll Envy. He bends to pick up Jennifer Whats-her-name loosed in sensuous negligee for nothing good comes leave the flyer for some mom to explain the kid what’s in store the cards for all ages, for all occasions not that for Timmy’s happy birthday smiles at pink and blue monkeys giraffes congratulating the weaponizing of lace pretending his being is bi-willed anniversaries of all kinds. So much to celebrate. Sleds and the patio furniture, tiki lights and the salt spreader; car seats and baby clothes cotton ensemble polyester blends into pacifier bins assorted age and color, free flow and orthodontic with or without animals to clutch and smell, see-through and mustachioed or emblazoned with an English D the Red Winged Wheel. He passes packets of onesies and diaper bags for diaper cases and strollers and bouncers where she will fill those never full of the filling never be gleefully learn her small form’s possibilities.Formula nipples, colorful spinning wheels, thick-paged books of colored cats and dogs, orangoutangs hello-smiling. A kind of magic indeed. Such wonder at six-thirty AM providing at all hours unthought of and unremarked implies implicit trust in the fullness of these shelves. That they will ever be for one now two very soon he said whenever I needed a long while asleep in the warm family hundreds of trucks have converged upon the castled market. Behind leave it for where every canned tube and sacked jar are thousands of laborers unloading loads in perpetuity I am myself forever and again. Stomping bleary-eyed they’d supplied; trudging diaper-cased he’s chosen. Reveals now this one plastic card use another for that after considering emergencies only this qualifies sausages and fertilizers, DVDs and spark plugs, the candy bars and energy drinks, the wine blenders, salmon fillets and wiper blades, spools of yarn artwork framed candelabras, the glitter to the city go and the glue. Expense deducts from mystical coffers, digitized magic revealing plenty from nothing to stop this train of thought of train stops between me and there nothing. Cash back. Silent goods watch the doors come and go, speaking of forevermore, inaudibly categorizing types of love never seen before. The dark and the cold exhume quick breaths would return for her not for her who cheated me out of the silent car sliding upon glazed asphalt. Street lights, white aglow. Dark lanes marked by sporadic lines keeps a life worth order now this bolting coward’s way her way too in a way mine among the denizens worse only cause being man of this city. And well-ordered must be, this: LNS. Aluminum timbers and glass bisected, creating irregular segments contrary to the timetable’s predictability least desired devisor calling every morning from place-names far afield culling through options best suited from where comes the call, heed west and considers from there anywhere but the plastic bag. A beacon in this winter night drawing into its blazing embrace those red-nosed foot-stomping who, for reasons all their own, seek the comfort these rails will secure. Singly or together in weary patience they anticipate the announcement for Chicago, One, he says and listen for the track’s vibration not decided if returning is undecided whose path shines ever brighter until the full sun of day. Around baggage-laden mumbles unfettered taking in the design, the clean floors and folds the bulky ticket to ride free of back pocket stuffs except her unconscious waiting maybe a sense of lack like how she knew momma maybe knows daddy is not his reflection a dark missive from a time before the man she will accuse him of being able to remind. There are more here than what first appeared. The report of the train’s eminent arrival. A flurry of handle-grasps and quick steps through poorly held doors. A clear light at track’s end. Trees stir. Behemoth bellows and slows. Towers above the disenchanted, who pull their weight into the steel belly. The metal sighs, as again her waiting will never be
III. The Train
Morning everbrite envelops undulating fields, the backsides of house huddles. Cross-finger wisps from bricked chimneys wane. Passing through, these iron rails don’t. This speed of travel needs material stasis and seated there like cast steel I have to be easier memories of home travel at cross-purposes. He watches another field pass across the lighted glass. Home waxing. The vanishing point the groove vision’s in. Locomotive pulls harried-eyed over three thousand ties per mile is fifty for every second to where never mind beneath serpentine rails overlaid with ice they crawling toward is more time away that way lie across the rows maybe should be called it hoar frost shoulder blades and behind the knees and such artistry in its waiting form. Special lens shows new eyes the frozen glaze cracking beneath steel wheels and done with new ears a song sung to deer-sought final buds her cries all times at all hours bed changed up for no reason held fed at all proliferates where the sun doesn’t behind knee it was and tired of the same old and then how soft she is in the quiet and the dark sometimes with the hot and the quiet shine. A young woman lie’s too great to remain talking behind, as if to herself, asking questions answers out of sync in turn and laughing at the hatred that must be built something only she can hear. Without rhythm. Fragments merely and were they a poem lacking reasonable flow. Fifty thoughts per second not legible hearing. Auditory alienation born of fragments because sense-making day after day for months the resentment is visual. An old man I’d have with me years never knowing if she were true rests with the bag in his lap senseless how she could’ve gotten when so careful I was and can only mean his hands shake crinkle-waves great lengths and can’t think about his elbow knocks the stately umbrella into the aisle. Streaks of aging gleam off the crozier he mumble-breathes toward. Hoar-haired beneath plaid fedora from ears and nose, bunched wild above his eyes. Talcum powder wafts from wrankled neck, moth balls and aftershave settles upon invisible rails from overhead vents. He sighs kalamata tapanade and pulls at leather bounded scripture. Black tract throwaway I said and never slapped so bent forward and cathedral-handed with closed eyes, remorse swaying what you are now I once was hard from that day staggered into this cabin slapped a year ago now between heaven and hell’s opportunities but that’s over until the fulness of decide reveals preferred today is a new place-name. Black bark lines sketched against white swaths. Fading morning stars are innumerable yard lights of country farms. Feather in his hat, burgundy and emerald diamonds glance right corner forward where four young people divided by two is two couples or two people the ancient Pauline mathematics of unification couples coupling one from a couple of ones and three makes the strand uneasy not easily what they are now I once but no more broken. The feather flutters in their muffled laughter that is losing its muffle. Facing one another in a turned row to lay Queens and tens on a red cooler. Cards fanned in mock security, anticipating the trick played on me her idea of father murmur-cursing at smiling tell each one a promise waiting to break brunette Hairpulled shoulder-dances in expected revelry. Hairdraped earrings shake and lays the ace lauds blasphemy when Hairpulled throws Jack of Hearts to overwhelm poor instinct staring too long get socked by men if don’t stop thinking and have one already because naked dreaming Hairpulled combines the kitty. Shuffles on the cooler touching eager shins across from her. Smell tapanade. Never smiling she lifts the slender pack above the now-open lid, nods in response to sibilant whispers he’s concerned she has no poker face and if she were alone the club car probably while purple and blue, now orange and green cups are presented, taken in remembrance of popped tops. Hallelujah salutes to Chicago weekend. Suckslurped and licked, young lovers away. Insider laughter. Nature’s copulating illusion is all ever will be greatest known secret. He slides close to the window to chase desire not it but court it for today tonight forget domestic no longer a mirror. The train sways and jerks with more calamity in the brightening day than when it was draped in darkness. The steely movement upon the rails reasserts freedom from this day and he is carried up in it, eyes closed, glass-cooled forehead above palm-warmed cheek. Behind is quiet now and forward right corner a cool babbling that mimics box-sway, the quiet bar and on-line the first time it was Rudy’s for a few before the show and stayed to dance warm bellies and delight and nothing then she said so but next we did and most times after always the same motion tends to stay until behindknee it was then stick-piss and shellshocked because the pill the Implanon the sponge and the shot what did it said and didn’t I say the train sway stills. On the cool glass the orange glow infiltrates his lid, its advance checked by the cornea and lingering there to influence dreams. Dark squiggle lines are embryos and who’s to say there is no womb-light there, no aurora borealis to wonder at. Who will say no vision there of what was before, what once they were, celebrating what has passed and the heinous act slapped sense into me I said what will come. Dreams of the dark nothings because imagining the bright something is terrible. The beginning of beauty always is. Dozing in the insignificant correspondence between the natural and the super, entreating unceasing, until deeper darkness startles him awake. Open-eyed and wiping crease-feet, memory collides with hope in the blurry wakened conscious. In the lilt of the car his face returns to him in the opaque window, downcast. Chicago. The gentleman gathers his things and young teams pass plastic bag for cups, wrappers and tops. Pack the cooler and hands clap Ode to Possibilities inherent in couples coupling nice yes and after a small family on a winter’s morning. The train slows then sighs. Cold wind whips through the car in exuberant greeting.
IV. The Street
Sun rays strikes the glass, ricochets into the river. Giggles lie upon the wake. No need of purpose to journey here. It can be slight so long as here is the end. Naked hands jacket-stuffed he bends across the half wall. The rhythm of obelisks, sconce ringed midway, call to her color rings ungraspable yet scattered around an earlier century. The once-smooth stone weathered, innumerable demands clean care clairvoyance must mean caresses absorbed into its material. He turns his back to the wind, face to the sun. Linger on the bridge. The river’s course guides city walls. Slender fingers of the patamoi nuzzle voluptuous curves of stone, forgiving mankind its dabbling in the natural course, soon to dabble again. Reverse the reverse never likes to now before a drink was how we most times and can’t find again what was once so what she wants change for me to change and the diapers are in the car and the car is in the lot far from home where she waits they back to nature. Across the river shadows lie urgent is what was emblazoned upon sheet glass, curved around marble columns. Shadows alive on the fifty-fifth floor. Barely conceivable the times of delight had that wonder spent alive in it together knowing each other such a notion as man working in the altitudes so far from the fields, eschewing the necessity of rain and green buds opening to each how impossible now sun-encouraged. The yield carried along fiberoptic wires that dance in the space overhead, commiserating in the clouds nearer to God without impassable rift consider but she ever will be too late throwaway the hope of Babel’s builders. The signal desists its red hand. White strides to another corner, another crossroads to consider time before she it all without doubt maybe a chance for something but this CitiBank, Tower Self Park employee yellow vested cigarette leans on the ticket kiosk staring at Less Than Thirty Minutes $5 too much to ask had she even asked and no basking within an agitated cast of shadow-light-shadow from such a blessing said and should have suspected then but who could suspect a thing above racing beneath the elevated track with thunderous ovation I couldn’t and agreed until now suspect and her all throwaway across the sun dappled street. Within it’s translucent squares gray-filtered shadows of light itself are the silhouettes of still more men, still more women. Those pillars of the city as integral as what he leans upon. Feel the rough smoothness of iron. Push against it, hands now face. Consider the myriad intellects come together with the advent of industrial innovations, steel and electricity, routes and schedules, with effort and determination. They labored for a future hope that is your present disregard. Wipes his eyes. Yes, it is good to consider these objects surrounding you. The wonder of it all. Of life and the size of that bolt, rusted and painted over countless times through the centuries. City workers with their paint buckets and brushes, no power sprayer in this windy city, they apply veneer to Behemoth’s stanchion and across that bolt’s head that today is chipped again and cracked again it waits silently, watching generations come and go like all the rest suppose each his own tragedy the devil in us both tricks as tricked hundreds like it on the platform, watching. Thousands like it, patient as the Rockies, as stately. This bolt will be thought of again as it has been thought before. The size of the wrench that first tightened it, that first besmirched silver sheen, sullied first the fresh bolt smell. The fist first that clutched the wrench, the vulgar incantations spoken over it, vesper grunts and howling. Labor’s song of praise to the fissure now split knuckles, sharing in blood-drawn altar work. Perhaps it savors still the taste and your blood would taste to it like that first blood. From like to like he is with them in love who believes so soon I said and she hurt belief my penance for a time paid but stages on proof’s way mine approached too slow for her with caution wise since after the simple words unspoken uncoupled our time marches, foot swift and sure. Above is quiet now, but the rails reverberate. A wake in the steel. Movement requires swaths of stasis. Everyday miracles have flitted across his vision, the chaotic squiggle of sunspot. The corner has wonders to fill a chapbook of poems and a monograph of the depiction in photographs. It too deserves a Proustian treatment there now a Monk’s Pub celibacy too far but a life in which to be rid of life better to confess its phenomenons. Coated elbows flatten upon the rail’s weary mahogany. Takes his heavy breath like stain. The bartender pulls a lever to remit the relentless burden of duty, a portion of the Lethe. Offers the mug and rubs a rag into breath-stained grains. In light that shines within the shadow of the El air-borne debris illuminates, dancing and consoling in the swirl of disrupted stillness, like planets drawn in miniature, atoms lilting about, leaning and loafing until the moment they unite to assemble a father’s life impossible there without desire none for it not yet didn’t and told her so like so many dust mites turning new angles unknown until this turning. It requires new metaphors, quick minds for a world in need of revelations. O, Chicago. For this marvel you came and having come return. With tales of Hallelujah, return.
V. The Tavern
To your health drink said the bartender, unsmiling. Over the glass rim foam slosh runs golden toward the bar. Flesh abates with an abrupt tip. Immediate free-fall. Half-full lands with relief and numbs like a tear drop bursting upon the mahogany, spraying smaller droplets not visible upon a coaster where they are concealed beneath the weight of mind’s doubt no longer a a storied glass. The bartender’s folded arms in conscious protest to the quick demise of the day’s first pour is delicious and cold warming feel a lightening and another is ordered. Another given. Man alone is able to transform the world. To make of it a storehouse of the infinite, his prerogative. This his share in being nothing here to do and none to demand of me but me this I bowed above Green Line APA. Startled, he disregards his reflection. The mirror holds nothing of the past and it offers no hint of the future. The mirror is all-present, a perpetual absence of time. Alone among the beckoning shadows, inclined toward that other realm require only to make one’s life now eternal. How different are the shadows in this world. The plaza shaded in light charcoal and the bartender’s cast upon and between the rows of bottled curvature, compare: dove’s blood altar-sprinkled, the liturgy yes even copulation itself a shadow of that other. His face lowered still, concealed behind intwined fingers. And yet merely a glance and his image too will reveal the face of God. Courage. The mirror being merely shadow does not contain all truth. Grave-like and the barren womb, land-like in drought or the flame, never fulfilled. The creases around his eyes recall the time of smooth skin and the stubble on his chin, dormant youth. The bartender’s proliferation of nose follicles and ear, where future grooming compels mirror-facing and the passing of time. Self-departing now from this held time within the Edison-glow of polished glass. Consciousness keeps from that other world. Hope and memory kept from the mirror. The mirror captures eternity will never end and the problems escalate until she’s eighteen to separate and misery until memory convinces correction and hope assures the future will not end in death. Now is the clink of glassware, now the time of low speech and the aging light. Shadow creep along city-sooted windows. The barroom is submerged in premature dusk. Silence and the dim with screeching and the taking of sides against me for petty slights that could never balance the scales of her deceit and the clock is off by forty-five minutes to wait would be wrong and correct in his home. There, where his child has been laid down with her habitual fuss that delights in memory I feel the affront how much more later will murder enter my mind tired now by her small game. The bartender sees to familiar faces, tipping bottles, pulling levers he chuckles and commiserates. Proverbs and maxims dissemble another for a float down the Lethe, He came in like he meant business said the bartender to the woman on a far stool, ain’t never seen him before. I seen him my whole life she think she is knowing me here nobody knows though in a time not yet apprehended, he remembers her weak moments of impotent rage, fondly. And the soft cuddle of her warm head, the impotent grasp of sleepy fingers, her command of fragile bones in the long moment of a daughter’s affection. Now the reddened face and the clenched fists, the limbs rigamortis at impending abandon all hope is mine now but soon the screams and cries will be as a sepia photograph. Project toward knowledge of time passed when this more will not be that and another memory will be a gracious resort. Three glasses hop-ringed and honey colored are swallowed time and now a fourth to keep calm induce a lightness and use to hearten nerve in this new life courtsoblivion. Escape from time for a time. Courage, man. Embrace that tender decision, welcome and again decide another today and again. For mankind resides in clear mist and being abides with hard-won knowledge that becomes. Project solitude and freedom and the space to float about or whip around as the winds dictate as the train schedule ordains and pretend my own will’s a vision unachievable, though still conceived of. Spirits in a holding pattern, circling above, long to look into these things. Detached from it all they ache. Circadian rhythms are no law, not gravity and neither space nor time, but the word mediates. His word translates the world whether here or afar San Francisco or Seattle go and reveals his ilk the life I imagined is not forever. Beauty walks with Demise. The bartender pulls the lever releasing Noah’s vigor into fragile glasses, drained and followed by another pull out of the station toward another station cash and never find enthusiasm for the draught. For him the euphoria of its song, for him also the dregs. The blessings and curse are ethereal cravings. Five generations have passed since first the dim. Now the wobble-stooled, now too the slurred speech. Tables once empty have been filled are now vacant again. Many pulls conceived and buried. From the filling of the glass to its emptying a moment and the moments in the bubbles are of such importance, pointing to desire and another decision of least regrettable acts. Another generation. How quickly they pass now. Still, slowly daughter distinguishes self. Forever lying-in day, forever screaming night. Courage, Man! Always filling diapers moistening to Mum paste spit-up, ear piercing screech tests the family constitution, profaning the memory of his first love convinced of misstep return to her life’s hope and to the fruit of that union, return. Amusements amassed and filled to slumping, his fists shaking which step near tears he pays and is gone.
VI. Union Station
This magnificence holds a dreary aspect. The light dulls behind a tower and trickles through shaped glass. He glides below ground, unsteady. The escalator carries silence and red-cheeked to waiting tracks. A slowed person’s sudden halt on the leveling plateau. Teeters, now-fallen luggage elicits maledictions. Coats jostle the poor man’s worried attempts to upright his capsized life. Leaping from the flattening stair, around the drowning man colliding with a woman who loses the grasp of her child. Her fingers splayed, then curl into abandoned space. Terrific squeals attend this concourse has no logic where do they go where coming from all over the country people swirl, dive into openings, sideways now then back. A sliding tile game. The portrait ever obscured. Another escalator are there no limits to the depths dug deep into the onion fields. Where once he glided across sun-warmed streets and steel, here quick-breathed and near blind, he struggles within the stifling maze and no refreshing breeze no space to lose my way only purpose of pace here strides, spinning around glancing off. Gropes the wall for a signpost. Narrow catacomb opens into a world of freedom from the center out as many futures as an imagination creates a vaulted arena. There, a magic transference. Breakneck rays of dusk filters through glass apertures, rejuvenating it, cleansing the broadbands of atmospheric particles and cosmic dust, leaving the glass outside stained. These great hall windows hold a mystical property and return all that passes through them to an earlier aspect, an earlier time to decide upon next course back to the beginning of light work it out on this bench yes in the dim and the silence yes. Meditate on just this beginning, this special state instant-now. Animals lack this, neither do angels have the capacity for it. One does not apprehend time, the other cannot die. Both ignorant of now the moment of deciding bereft of beauty, of her life with me she would never know without would be ordinary and I would send I would still be holding another, keeping that shadow from betraying the turn of the earth faithful Oh even in that embrace there is a shadow exclaiming a greater truth. He lifts his hands to his forehead and rolls his neck upon the wooden back. Whisper and caress and beat back the torrents of time and know except in this but always after morning will come with a twilight moon through now-fallen snow. Return to that embrace shared by the lower beasts, unknown to the higher orders I will rise to be there and not for slumping this and not for slouching, either. Certainly not for sprawling upon the marble slabs this floor cooling clearer somehow upward now. Onward! Across the vast hall no, that way leads back to the street. Yes, beneath the arched entryway he had too much Monk’s is all and stumbles down can’t quite falls forward toward the kiosk. His thick hand vaguely aware of one complaint against the golden rail slips across its polished surface rightly so and ever be mine clutching as he goes down upon a knee mercy grip-loosened rolls to the bottom cooling floor to rest the racing glimpses the ticket booth okay okay he says to the uniformed couple money let me pay for where, he decries a place and have money enough to leave for a destination. The next train out told and not going back there another train have money but what are you saying. Return. From where you came and with Hallelujahs, return. I have a two o’clock to San Francisco for $167, now that’s not with a sleeper need to sleep to think to wake in Saint Louis leaves at two-fifteen. It’s going to be close, said an officer. He’s going to need the yes, that sleeper, said the other. With a sleeper you’re looking at $475 to the other side away as far as can throw cast steel tracks that brought you here will take you home again only speak the word, the liturgy evoking bright morning out of dark ash, itself an easy embrace of morning’s infant softness away and be gone heavy lidded, her lips curving around plastic spoon-whirled globs upon plump cheeks. Unconcerned until the damp rag applied, she reacts as if to ten thousand volts and squirms in authoritative grip escorted and nothing wrong with her mouth away from the airplane. Remember after all her laugh, the easiness of being with her. Do not carry me to an exiled world. Only remember and take us home.