Friday, April 6, 2012

6 of 30 Elegy for George R. Cookingham

You were first, to ride ahead  on the lampless road
the bikes, half-stolen, kicking mailboxes in the pistol-whipped dark
the dodged bullets, climbing barbed wire fences
the night we came across an open grave,
the casket sitting in the middle of the street,
the black tar of the road.

The night you stole a car,
and wrapped it around a tree
and walked a half mile on a broken leg,
your punctured lung flecking your lips with blood
and threw gravel at my window.

Our science fair project to take a picture of the soul,
and your father dying in the middle of it,
the voltage running through the copper plate, over the film
calling devils in the dark of the wheatfields

That moon grinning down, your dead father
hanging over us,as we smoked his funeral flowers
over the bloody mirror,
huffing gasoline from cans.
Everclear in a gallon jug
My father's stolen .22
every broken window in the church
a tooth to catch your absent god
his relics in your backpack
as you climbed from windows,
escaped asylums
When your heart stopped, your truck kept going
through the intersection and into a telephone pole
The camper where I hid you rotted into the ground
my house burned to the foundations
your girl's head filled with ghosts

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