How each can voice its ghost across a washed-out prairie
widening with dusk, coax replies from what does not exist—
A lesson Martin’s learned since leaving home.
Tonight he listens to what he knows must only be
a pair or pack of three singing their way through
each peeling-paint, rent house wall, hunting. Marie is gone,
and there is no TV for Martin to light against the dark,
just the shotgun—stock worn bright by countless palms—
Marie leaned next to the door as soon as daylight thinned.
From bed he listens and tries to imagine the power it takes to cry
invented air into a pair of conjured lungs, to tuck yourself
into mesquite shadow and fool the dark into believing
you are the dark, both singer and killer, rather than hungry
and huddled against yourself, surrounded by such starving.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 2.
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