John Courtney

(05-22-1982 / Philadelphia)

Footsteps Of The Earth Whale


At dusk my sweet faces cook on blood-shot shores,
the trees swing and are boys and are thirsty like I am.

Thunder and the lamp of other language
follows the scented harvest of a disabled shadow.

Cows skinny into coyotes, crickets suck in their guts,
a crop farmer loads a shotgun and stills his porch
where the stove and his Clarabelle move the kitchen aside
to look out at her dog and remember the man next to him.

I am taught of the safety of being alive, of women
and kitchens watching blue-eyed dogs fall into black seas,
but I know of the blindspot too, of its many whistles that blow,
where God hides and shivers in withdrawal, where I put myself away.

These strangers have followed me from a grade school graveyard
to a funeral mass coat closet where you reach into a breast-pocket
and read to my crowd my bloated eyes pinned back by rented cufflinks.

They smile and cry when I'm over
and pour whiskey for the trees
and I begin to grow.

So bright the mercy of an opiate highway
and loud the guilt of suns I swallowed,
so easy the making of a stranger
and the birth of voice torn free by talons.

At dusk my sweet faces were served in asterisk dippers.

Submitted: Thursday, June 13, 2013
Edited: Thursday, June 13, 2013
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