SELF-PORTRAIT AS A CARTOON COYOTE
Always a stick propping up the box,
too slow on the yank,
hit in the face by the draft—
left with only a feather of my muse
flittering with dust puffs.
Am I angry? I twirl on anvils
and bundle dynamite bouquets—
you can never have too long a fuse.
When I was a pup
I went straight for the throat.
My father said, “Be good, or be good at it,”
meaning, it’s ok to run through the air,
so long as you don’t look down.
Of all the ways we die in the Middle West,
being thrown from a vehicle is the most ours.
Snowmobile, golf cart, bench-seat Chevy—
our leisure and labor, harbinger of the final flight,
body bolting into the trees like the midnight dash of deer
when they leap from one dark wood to another.
Final Description: jeans, Guns N Roses
t-shirt, the missing boot found 15 feet from his body.
How dare they say it was the drink
and not the happy lust for prairie-speed,
desperate to blame anything but the sensitive throttle,
or the ice-chunk in the rut, or the black ice patch
over the unfinished construction job
they’ll dig out and restart in spring.
ON THE TRAIN FROM LYON TO GENEVA,
blue lightning divides the sky, flung
up from stucco’d farmhouses.
The earth reaches in Sistine fashion.
Nestled villages blur of a centuries-past
yellow you couldn’t find in a can.
The trees bend from the thunderhead
as white wildflowers rattle their heads
parce que les temps. A horse on its back
rocks to its feet while vineyard rows
merge with village streets, cobbled.
A church hides behind the mount, guarding
a cemetery you couldn’t be buried in.
Through an abandoned train depot,
a broken-in door reveals abandoned furniture
hanging from the ceiling in slaughterhouse fashion.
You lurch into the window, face pressed to the glass.
You are cold and awake, want the window to crack.
The tracks lead away from the river,
an abyss that reflects nothing but the curvature
of its own green-black spine.
TRENTON POLLARD has poems forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, The Journal, Lambda Literary, and elsewhere. He lives in New York City.