When my lover disappears, my dad wants to smite the town. I say forgive every cowhand and mother for the hell they think we’re in. Forgive the forests they stalk. I’m trying to unwrite these grassy hills they made so dangerous. When my lover was alive, my touch could unslaughter a calf. Could reassemble anything young. I remember my lover’s hand opening inside me. Thought our spasms would shake death. I look for his outline at the mall where we walked without touching. Now, in the department store where he draped a trench coat over me, even the crowd has died. The business bureau revived the historic downtown where my neighbors dance like no one’s missing. When one of them gets promoted, a cancer remission, a newborn, they say my name and the word praise. I’m trying to unwrite this place. What they say about snakes, touch, forever. I’m unassigning every element. I tell jokes to the dirt and it coughs up baby goats. Once I told Pharisees I’m not a man and they laughed up nails. Now they travel in SUVs and sing hymns about a man who needs too much. When news of my lover reaches their prayer circle, when someone mentions the hell they think we’re in, this town becomes more like it. This town could be my home. It isn’t.
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