Morning opens like a sore
in Silver City, where men
gut their own mother’s
belly—not for precious metals
but truck-loads of gravel
for driveways, foundations,
xeriscaped yards trying
so hard to look like they are
self-sufficient. The sun
overtakes the sky, like pain
evaporates the mind and
its little headlamp. A riddle:
what can be divided like a worm,
squirms, welcomes itself into one
body, is alive three times, you
would exchange a ton of gold
for any measure of it if you only knew
it was leaving. I bet you got it
by now, I bet you guessed water.
You’d be right. But I wasn’t
thinking water. I thought God,
or universe. Not that I’m wrong
or right to think this way,
because perception is on that list,
too. It fractures and isn’t broken.
My neighbor in his 70’s trailer
has about ten dogs, and those dogs
are believers, too, followers of the cult
of the Virgin of Pain. Their master
punishes them with a baseball bat for shitting
in the fenced-in yard. The bat is the metal kind
that rings across the exposed rock
as it strikes them across the back.
And the dogs don’t break, neither
does the bat. They are the kindest dogs,
they fear their own bodies, bringers
of pain, because they know their bodies
are imperfect, defecate
when they meant to pray/fetch/
bone. It’s hard to know what wise men
know. No, what wise men want
with such a limited brain. I wake to work
in the mines, well, to move
the gravel around, that’s all I do all day.
It’s what my father did, it’s what my sons will do
unless they leave. We got rid of the old
trucks, the kind that dump by lifting back
in one huge pile. Now the truck bed
opens up in flaps like an autopsy,
disembowels itself. It’s easy enough.
Still, I’ll wake up grating
my teeth. There are more shards of meth
in Hurley than there are stars in the sky.
But maybe we could all be good
if we could learn to be afraid
of our own assholes. Sometimes
when I wake, I could swear
someone was there. God, my mind
leaps up—and I’m like a dog
jerked awake by its own fart.
Each morning, I wake up grateful.
Each morning, I forget to remember
to call the dog pound. When I tell Marcelino,
I swear to God, one of these days
I’m gunna do it, he only says: good for you.
And day makes a fist, and parts
of Silver City spill into the far away suburbs: