by Andy McGuire
Alone in the kitchen,
I think of the word Kalamazoo
for as long as it takes
to move past
thoughts of little league, cold
as Minnesota memories in Texas,
past the dumb desire
to want a picture of myself
in left field,
because for that I would need a baseball
diamond and a glove,
not to mention a camera
with a father attached.
Past the slow fireworks of October
and weather that causes sleeves to turtle
because they did me no good
crossing the Davis Strait
aboard the Lyubov Orlova,
unable to shake
the serpents of early Arctic maps, looking out
over teething whitecaps
with the intensity of a pro dart player
about to throw. I realized
I could slip away
unnoticed, a thousand clicks
north of where the trees and soil split
over creative differences.
After I left the Orlova, she broke it off with a tow
line unable to hold
the whole of her, opting
for a derelict life in the North Atlantic,
where she is now
believed to be relieved of her buoyancy.
Only the righteous would linger
in a landscape that makes you feel like the first
and last speaker of a language.
Martyrdom has its disadvantages.
I lock my life goals
and death drive
together in solitary
and watch them get their Stockholm on.
Because I have never been
to Kalamazoo. It sounds like a cheap place to shoot
over breakfast, holding the thrill
of the thought of something surfacing, but not.
Because only on a sleepy avenue
where they still say Yes
and Alright then
can I score my civil war
Cast in a sunbeam that would just as soon bleach
my bones, I airlift
my last spoon of cereal and brace
for the breach, ready to seat
my breaker, arms
crossed like the opposite of Christ.