Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

Disciplining the Body

What emerged from the cellar
of the abandoned summer house
was a fox cub,
and mewing, though motherless.

It cried, unheard, while we shot
the Glock. And when Thom
threw open the hatch door,
I wasn’t thinking of the farm dog.

It rushed down the stairs,
a blur of scarlet.

The pup’s bones
twisted, snapped,
not a significant noise,
not what I’d expected.

Then it happened like this:

we were quiet,
and you walked past
the dogbane to where
the pup lay heaving,
slipped the safety and fired.

Not solemnly,
but suddenly steeled.

And after the recoil,
you let that stiffness
slide off you

as if the crack
echoing the fallow acre
toward the silo,
its grain door
rusty, eddying with the wind,

cracked you too.

The living
leave their ghosts behind.

Later, we walked
through the turnrows.
And later, Thom married Kayla.

The day of the rehearsal
the wedding party
practiced Thriller
in the church’s basement.

Vine left, said Thom,
now upper body rock,
cross step left.
Thom said to watch you.

He restarted the song,
and you shambled forward,
head ticking: one, five, seven.
Your shoulders,
a yolk,
in perfect phrase
to the double-beat of the chorus,

when Michael glides
on the soundstage
in what
must have seemed

an impossibility,

muscular alchemy,

some unthinkable level
of control.  end  

return to top