Poem #2: Wanting a Blue Daybreak

“Wanting a Blue Daybreak”

Those weekend nights in winter when daybreak swapped stage
with the bleak satin of twilight and no curtain could
make midnight any less dark, I remember them
and the dunes of snow as we passed another distraught gas station,
how we spent the month of February,
driving for the sake of frozen gasoline.

Closest to the window, farthest from any exploits of conversation,
I am so addicted to the cold, to the frost encrusted
on the windows and melting them with a press of my palm.
Ten minutes ago we were scrambling through a dirt trail
to a graveyard Alex said was haunted, spoiling half the reasons why
mid-journey. A row of disregarded porch lights enlightening
the cusps of dusk, like smoldering Dresden, I wanted to leave
as soon as snow crunched underfoot when I shut the car door,
as soon as I first lost footing on the path, oiled by ice.
Feet shuffling in straight eighth notes,
every tree harboring the same pallid post lacking color,
they were the air vents either side for the real blackness
to seep through.

A turn right up ahead and I will be the martyr of complaints.
Reasonably so, veering off this path bright from moon particle,
and under shafts of oaken iron light, the graves are blurred
beneath snow and night.
Something incandescent about soggy flowers clinging to graves settled
in their earthen seats moved my eyes to the boughs limp overhead
and to a taut backdrop of sky.
Stone cropped like my own hair a month ago, but not quivering
with its hands in its pockets as I am.

And a clich├ęd story of “haunted” fragments, rumors of four family members,
and here we shiver, four vagrant friends left with nothing to do but wade crystal water
where grass now sleeps.
I’m so far gone in mind that being last in line felt fitting.
I trip on a sliver of wind or ice as we leave, and the silence turned its face–
I get up as I had always: without another hand.
Noah and Hayana say practically nothing there and back, but does not stop.
Under my chapped breath I am the da capo, the repeat sign
whispering how stupid this is; I am Colonel Sartoris running away,
but I only wish it.

Returned to the car, I breathe hollow air into my palms,
cupped like a cavern. The only suggestion I included just now,
from Traverse to Grawn and back, was to play some music on the CD player.
I see now the other side of the road we passed an hour earlier,
confiding to God that if I was in His place, all those people would have
died the same, no speck of dust disturbed.
The melted snow slipping down my ankles, I tap those same
uncertain feet to the instruments behind Buddy Nielsen’s voice,
all the way past Chum’s Corners.

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