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Driving Drunk, and a Dozen White Crosses

from her purse to her palm. She revs her cemetery 
          toward a gauzy daymoon, curves our Buick

the hipbend home. Mouthfuls of ditch flowers 
          purple and passing, cottonwoods spilling

that moon’s confetti, the coal in Mother’s eyes 
          whitening. This is the fire I warm my hands by.

Clear the deadwood, and you’ll see, nothing but a girl 
          with a mouth dry of music. Let’s pretend

this is thirst, when a girl might stagger three, maybe four 
          days before paving her own mirage: a single drop

of oil down a harp string. Rain. Under this influence, 
          it will take years to learn she’s a room she drags

with her. Wall-to-wall nettles she’s shaped into banjos, 
          maracas, a flute. When it finally comes time to sit

to the river, she’ll have to finger her throat, snap in halves 
          all the notes that woman sung into her—

granite specks from hammer to chisel to headstone—
          until the horse in her heart stamps its hooves again.
Posted 03/05/10
This work first appeared in Clackamas Literary Review (2009)
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