_______All signs point toward the heart
of the woods. Enter & you’ll come across
a makeshift fort of branches, blankets. Lost
to the weeds: muddied magazines, baseball cards,
a juicebox half-buried in the dirt. Somewhere

in the woods, a creek waits for rain. Somewhere,
a boy says, is a good place to go. From afar
a train sounds its first warning. Follow the boy
who holds his brother’s hand on the highway
& when headlights approach, walks at the light’s

edge. Listen: forgo the road for the glass
-filled shoulder. On a porch a woman holds
a child between her knees & braids her hair
in the dark. A man admires his car’s clean
whitewalls & soap suds coat the rosebush,

obscuring its thorns. Here, even an oil slick
beneath a broke-down Buick knows something
of iridescence. Having fled a pack of kids
wielding bats, a rabbit’s safe below a car
whose lights were left on. Soon, its battery

will die. Go inside. Shine your old flashlight
in the flooded basement. See anything left
in here for you to salvage? The family
who once lived here smoothed menthol
on their children’s chests so they might breathe.

The room still has the faint scent of incense,
& in what light shines through a window
the size of a cinder block, dust is a galaxy
of dead skin you brush aside with your palm.
Before you’re done, a voice calls from the stairs:

Come up for air, son. Come see the strange lights in the sky.

Jeremy Michael Clark