The Model Walks Away From a Job

Rose McLarney

Tonight, when the trainload of coal, trailing ash

from the power plant, passed, I had no mournfulness left

for the suffering caused by the energy my lights

spend. Like the film images of the clouds that form

when the mountains are blown apart — how they pulse,

fill the screen, obscure everything — that’s how blurred

my mind was by the thought of what I wanted: another

whiskey. New boots. Possessions in numbers. To turn

and go back down the street to where the painter

who is not my husband but looks at me so long

holds his brush suspended above a palette of reds.

So much desire, and to desire goodness is no escape.

I will always end questioning what I’ve chosen,

regretting some greed. Or regretting that I slept cold

while the bulbs I left on burned into another day

when I would take nothing of what I wanted in my arms,

risk nothing that would bring color to my cheeks.

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