Evan Gray
high grove tree-line dancing figures
hallelujah translated
in rain showers

wind tattered jazz
curdled milk in the fridge

honeybees living in bird’s nest
moon again lonesome bleak
tractor bucket bellied up

12-gauge shell littered land
horizon lines outshine the flood light

art thou or aren’t thou fiddle tunes
lichen on brick facing hedge grass

fingernails blooded tooth aching
Where the Willow Hangs Down
barbed wire fence empty visions

city folks wind chimes conversation translated AM radio static

just behind the timberline just behind the shadows of a shed

town is reflected jade green moss north side of a tree

a foot from planted daffodils

paths clattered by patterns, alone incomplete by slants of lights

I am left standing and shining through, an echo reversing gravity, by falling

upward & around I cry for truths or depths floating on the surface,

here are skulls, here are heads of deer cut off, I am inland where mountains shimmer

and the temperate forest rots.


a thorn bush behind hog pins high strung in starkness

the right pair of boots & the holler’s backdoor coves

my flannel shirt pockets cover the beehives

the 1965 half-dollar dad gave me, buy gas, take a mouthful of snuff

hide in the house when J comes over drunk

the scrabble in the porch light, in the perch, window stains I leave

the doors locked remember, the mountains, ridges BBQ chip bags, fishing

the off the bridge, origins just pure like lady liberty, a shoebox,

hand-me-down sweaters and cattails tall as people

the a six pack by the bookshelf, take to the cold alter, now

a in fenced-in field, with my self-portrait for backdrops, blackberries along the parkway

the rough work with words and taxidermy plastered lynx fur

or mason jars filled with kerosene, postcards in furnaces black smoke

the it’s the road, silver pine riddles along burger king boxes, maybe

a blacksnake, there, six goats and four hens that were bought cheap

the even the tiniest crumpling diabetes toes in unison

dancing, hammering seven nails in a row whisker closet to each other, vertebras knuckling,

the damn this liver, lonesome failures to lift the tractor bucket as

sacrifice, for now God is a stuck hog or a lamb or another blacksnake, feeding on the mice

the out, the barn, most of all bottom feeders, bent stakes and glass

shards flatpicking breaks, a melody, a rebirth, a cesspool, no new eyes to feel with

the rain-puddle clouded ecosystems just white chalky connections

or dust on my dashboard, readiness it takes certain ancient eyes to call things, specific before

the the corn comes, upward there will be grass where home is

infected by sky-red vapors, gravel throated enigmas, bless my heartstrings for

the feeling, lantern light wooded has become rust suspended in air

like cardboard cutouts, the once seen mountains, jaspering left and right, bone deep,

the fingernails shards of highway lines on, ordinary thought is

underground, paved rivers vibrating, I wanted to say, out the front door to leave, only

the spaces

Winter, 2013
toes numb to the earth stomped fibers
of my hair tucked in his hat I didn’t even like


this all near the hill where my grandfather is buried
but I only knew his cold body lying
on a hospital bed while a machine breathes
for him, it’s a hospital mom says, a cold
metal slab, and I thought we were in the
basement, but I don’t remember coughing
because of mold which I am allergic to or
being scared from the lack of sunlight which
used to affect me, but inside I remember
looking at my grandfather’s eyelids and
eyebrows, how pink and purple


but that’s just it, the deer through my scope, he and I were breathing
the same hard syllables just a doe, the last of the season

I needed to kill something I needed or I’d wait all year
if got another chance
and I didn’t do it and throw it on the bed of his pick-up
take it to the high school parking lot and show everyone
to see what would they think, what they’d say and goddamn
I was cold snow was creeping in my tennis shoes not camo
but bet everyone else had a deer by now