Wherein a Trip to Western New Hampshire Predicts the Outcome of Our Relationship

Multiple chimes overlapped on the porch
like a swollen tongue. Eagerness smacks
of rust. Greeted by a black chicken

scurrying across the dirt road, children who love
to trail that dirt on their feet—the father
tells them to chase the bird toward his net

and then yells; they are not helping.
A rock that sneers like a jackal from a
curve in the road. Your sister’s backyard

that looks like a valley, an imprint where God
let his rifle lay. Ponds. A bookstore
that closes too early. The Connecticut River

pulling a dog’s footprints to its splayed
body and letting him go; the dog will return
twenty yards ahead and drink, and he will

transport the river inside him to the town
above the trail and his master will be impatient
and the dog will drop the river all over a Dartmouth

lecture hall—but I might be getting ahead
of myself. The road back. Hills where the sun
retires, where the forest is made

of cradles that shake, branches that rattle
to cull the night from darker soil. There were
baby lambs climbing a small dirt pile,

their ears unturned by our car’s low
throat and rumble. A pine cone is to a grenade
as sex is to a pine cone, but I don’t remember

how, exactly; I only recall the llamas
watching over the young lambs, the chimes sleeping
with their eyes open and my wondering

if the chicken was still running in the dark now
as I stood outside the porch, waiting with the pressure
of clean air against my head.


Brandon Amico is from New Hampshire. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Baltimore Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, Phoebe, Tupelo Quarterly, and other journals. You can visit him at www.brandonamico.com.