Migration

we come quickly, fleeing carnage, carrying father piggybacked

stop in Carthage for entertainment, destroy living rooms

then descend river, swirl down basin, finally fold

x over x

to me

i’d like to know more about my ancestry, i’d like to go there

we don’t keep records

or tabs, preferring to buy and drink at home

we can safely avoid modern developments

pesky railroads and stopwatches

we become glass blowers,

real estate developers

(or land-thieves,

however you like)

don’t you know why there are so many of us here?

then booze smugglers, horse thieves and later,

warriors, wrung out in medic tents, damming blood

veterans, limping ‘round the cottage

cripples staring at stolen bayonet with sad eyes


because there is nothing there


drunks

Degenerates

literates of half-baked culture here

where we have no taste for history or even myth

ghost trappers half-hearing dead language

magicians at making the tock tick ‘til 5

what you long for is nothing but marshes and flat air

he waits for my laugh to drop shiny needles onto silver sheet

but it falls out dull horseshoe onto yellow dirt


Appeared in the UC Review, Spring 2018 Issue (Toronto)