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Darkling, I listen

My chest hurts and it’s fucking cold out here
but I like it. I’ve spent hours waiting,
years, but I have never seen a Bigfoot.
I keep listening though. Keep my eyes open.
It’s lonely and I can’t feel my feet but
I’m happy thinking he might be here too.
You know my hair went white up in this tree?
Twenty years of dressing to match the leaves.
You hear that bird? Cardinal. Calling his wife.
Listen: Now she’s calling him back again.

God I could use a beer. I miss drinking.
Eight years sober, but I still remember
how it tasted—like cold summer sunshine,
like baseball playoffs with you in the lead.
What I wouldn’t give for a beer sometimes.
Christ, for a six-pack, that soft warm fadeout.  

Fadeout’s the problem, though—don’t remember
a lot, and what I do is unhappy.
Little kids cry all the time, so I’d go
to the bar and watch men drink till they’re numb
then feel bad that they’ve pissed it all away.
Meanwhile my wife lost weight, went back to work.
My kids watched too much TV, lost their fear
of the stove, made their own grilled cheese and soup.
Microwaved their own chicken nugget things.
Then one bright blue winter day my wife said
she’d fallen in love with somebody else.

Yeah, if I ever found a bigfoot then
I might just have to run right off with him.
Wouldn’t that be something? Flowers blooming
all around me and my buddy Bigfoot.
We’d know each tree, the plants that you can eat.
Hiking days along cool ferny creek beds,
making camp every night, the stars glinting
up above us like little fairy lights.

We’ve lost all our light now and I can’t see
a goddamn thing but that wind smells like snow.
Too cold for rain.

Darkling, I listen and listening can hear
almost everything. All the ancient groans
of barns going down, stripped of their boards, boards
that’ll be sold to the contractors who get
paid extra to make new buildings look old.
I hear the farmer’s granddaughter vacuum
the carpet after today’s funeral.
They’ll be putting his field on the market,
will sell it to a different contractor
who’ll dig twenty holes and drop a cheap house
on top of every one. It makes me sad.

Sad. That word. I’m fucking sick of being
sad, like I’m the last one left of something.
Hell yes I am mad. At them, at those birds
that I can’t name. Stand up for yourself, tree!
I have grown tired of watching these people
walk all over you, delicate grasses.

I remember running through the grass, growl
of the tractor calling us. Running fast
to avoid the snakes, finally reaching
open fields, bare feet pressing deep down in
the warm fresh dirt. Stand still and you could feel
the dirt warming your blood, and this warm blood
traveling up your legs. We were looking
for arrowheads turned over by the plow.

Posted 07/24/13
From the manuscript Bigfoot for Women (working title, 2013).
Comments (1)
Nice poem. Especially beautiful ending.
07/24/13 7:58pm