Aubade in a Red State
Red like the fanned tail of the half-starved hawk mantling
over a cat, twelve weeks deep in drought, beak wet with the eye’s sweet rot, the liver. Red like the dirt
blown loose from thirst-gagged roots, twisting in little devils over brittle grass. Red like the contrails’ lit cords burning
across the faces of the final stars, red like the sun’s chapped smile come bleeding back from its respite. Red like the singlet
the boy wears under a sweatshirt under a black plastic bag as he sprints every stairway in the stadium before weigh-in
trying to shuck enough sweat from his flesh to let him wrestle smaller boys. Red like the diet pills that make him itch inside,
make him crosshatch his body with scratches livid as wet clay. Red like the mat he drives the boys into, chin digging
at their shoulders as they flail like hooked crappies, red like the mat that should collapse right through the gym floor’s polished slats
for how hard he’s pushing down. Red like the quarry brimful with a brazen sky, the only place he’s ever felt light
enough, floating. Red like the heads of prairie fire lining the turnpike. Red like the oil derrick’s clumsy skull rising,
falling, bowing to the hilt of its unfillable hunger.
Copyright © 2017 by Josh Myers
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission
Josh Myers is from Heidelberg, Germany. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Poetry Northwest, Ninth Letter, Quarterly West, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He edits Toad, studies law at Vanderbilt University, and lives in Nashville with his fiancée, Jessica Suchon, and their dog, Gracie.
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