Published in Fence

I leave the inn at dawn.  

The sky is streaked perch.

The air is dream-injured.  

My boots crunch the frozen pavement, teeth against stale cereal.  

Its a hop, skip and a walk to the lake.

The augur is strapped to my back.  

I carry a bowling bag filled with cash.  

My breath kindles a face, someone to speak at.  

The sodium lamps are layered with flyers that have bled each into each, so that it
seems McGruff the crime dog is lost and holding a yard sale.    

These side streets suffer from inhalant abuse.

The trees are scratches off an inkless nib.

At the foot of a sugar maple, a crow picks at a Chinese food pail from Maoses
Asian Kosher.

The lake ice is onion blue.

I sit at the end of the pier and chew tobacco.  

When I feel watched, I slip from the jetty and onto the firn and slip-slide across
the lake like an agonist Baptist.  

I feel thick.

Fifty yards out is an isletone scrub pine, sedge brush and a tent made from
plaid blankets and billiard cues.  

An ellipsis of black stone limns a fire pit.

Reality is a one slipped between a series of zeros.  

Reality baits the best mousetraps.

Build a better mousetrap and outlast your father?

Attached to the tree: skulls with braids.  

My guts upbraid.  

My mouth is raw potato.  

How far have I come?  

I sense a crimson lash and look up to find the lake encircled by hundreds of
women in red velour warm-ups pushing three wheeled jogging buggies.  

Helium-filled foil stars are attached to each pram.  

Each woman holds a golden cord in her left mitten.  

Are they snow mirages?

Is this a dash for charity?

For Ophelias memory?

Their flesh stains my facts with serum.  

This is X.  

I take off the augur, which is like a corkscrew, long as my ulna.  

I crank the rotator into the ice until the point hits water.  

I slide to the islet.

I light a fire with magazines and newspapers I find in the tent.

My picture is on the front page of The Economist.

The women are a chain of milk, a blur.

The sky is the color of leather under the penitents foot.  

Finally its horns emerge.

Finally, some horns.

Next it pops from the hole like a slice of black bread launched from a box toaster.  

The toy ogre is dressed in tawdry Nervenkitt.  

It carries an ersatz Saks canvas tote.  

Its shoes are dada Prada.

Its face is jointed, 2-D, like a frieze like a Byzantine mosaic laid a few wrong tiles.  

It smells like auto sex.

Do you have it?  
Its voice is that of a rat speaking from the snakes throat.

Are we ready to deal?
I hold the bowling bag out to my fey fiend.

Take it out and count it.  
I want to hear it squeal.

After the cash goes in his sack, the ogre fingers an atomizer, removed from a
pocket with its fur-lined fingers.  

It waves me over, and it sprays my face.  

I smell one of those purple flowers Ophelia adoredthe kind that turns out to be

I feel nothing.

I say, I feel not a thing?

There you go.
Thats why I get the big bucks.

I watch it walk to the dock.

I hang my face over the hole and wait for the gape in the ice to heal.  

I bring my knees to my chest and rock.  

I shift to all fours and tack to shore,
back to those alarming buds.

last updated Tuesday, June 06, 2006 @ 6:27 PM