I pat my pockets, dull outline
of what I carry, key ring
and wallet like furniture

draped in a dim living room.
My touch is linen, a ticket away,
the morning an open window

from which a fat turtle
pokes its head. The simple act
of walking outside feels like defiance.

I’ve known this home three years,
unremarkable town, and now
I hold a sprig of mint

to nostalgia’s nose, lead it
just out of jaw’s reach,
neck stretching as if I could draw

the creature out of itself
like a brain pulled through the nostril
of an embalmed man.

We’ve done this before,
sold ourselves on expectation, paper
currency we accept, smiling.

We circulate perceived worth
from hand to hand,
to breakfast table–tomorrow

a cup of blackberries
atop a bowl of cream.
I hold a new city like a wad of bills,

hand undiscerning
of the counterfeit.
When it comes to this brand of faith,

isn’t it better not to question?
Boxes arranged in the bed
of my pickup, I close myself

inside its tortoise shell;
I fill my mouth with copper coins
so I don’t need to speak.

Lucian Mattison