The Lost Actor

 

Standing knee-deep
in a marsh, I fish.
I wait for fish
to mistake my legs
for branches. I eat
a lot of mice, too.
Sometimes I choke
on a fish or a mouse.
My beak is a hammer
in the cloud casket.

Like I said, I was once
a great bird. I flew
into empty Nevada,
doused each Main Street
with gasoline, built
the effigy of Jeremy
sprouting silver feathers
like ash. Like artemisia,
the desert held me
kindly, like a free
smoke when you’re
about to cut the reins
on some asshole’s
stagecoach.

To be fair, I never saw
a crane in Nevada,
though the mustangs,
those nights, must have
spread seared wings
and above the burning
storefronts flown.

The banker’s assistant
careens off the road—
dies on a fencepost.
I’m sitting at the bar
with my tackle-box,
tying flies to set
in dirty windowsills,
while outside
they convert the gallows
into student housing.

 

 

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