Sep 25, 2012

Absence

Written by Joe Wilkins

Read by Gary L. McDowell

For you I drink a cup of wind, taste two fingers of salt.
For you I do not bathe & grease builds back of my ears & tangles my lank hair, the vagabond whiskers on my nose.
For you pine duff, blueberry, wild mint, a fawn’s slender hoof & fetlock.
For you I chew weeds & rain-rotten sticks, drag my bare feet through dew-soaked grass.
For you I refuse the advances of the mountain.
For you I curse & stomp rocks, each thwomp & ring winging up shin & spine, rattling the very jaw socket.
For you I wander open-mouthed under the cloud-shot sky & do not watch where it is I am going & with a wet pop turn my ankle & fall & scrape my hands & knees to the wet quick.
For you stump & limp.
For you abrasion, bruised bone, little driblets of blood.
For you six days of sun & seven days of silence, warm water from a tin cup.
For you I wander out again & step through a scruffy slope of meadow, the lewd unfurling of ferns, dewy & vaginal field of purple-flowered moss, & on down to the lake, lilies like scoops of butter corking on the wind-cut water.
At moonset I wake & rise & piss a great arc out the front door & leap from the steps, & up the hill I run, the lean god of absence gnashing my devotion, & a fishbelly wind scours my skin & my eyes leak light & my sick heart judders in its pocket of gristle & rib, & each winging rib & each slick joint & juddering leg bone for you, for you this road & road dust & lip salt & the salt-hungry tongue, & this breath & this breath & breath.

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