a mile out you can paint it any color you want, low sun
on the razed fields, rain ripping through the gutters.
you can flush the heart with begging, drive out
the built-up clutter of sit coms and coca-cola, remake
yourself into one long note from a bluesy sax.
i found a gumball machine with a wizard inside.
he’ll give you two lies for a quarter, fed out on a paper slip:
ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffthe world is ugly but fixable.
fffffffffit’s cold where i’ve been. i’ve spread my coat
over my bed at night, sleeves brushing my mouth,
velvet-soft and gentle. i’ve stayed late each week
in the church hall to sit in the true and perfect silence,
a hundred folding chairs still open in their rows.
banks of black windows. outside, headlights.
trees and trees, blown stars, raw wind, the belly
of the world turned up in supplication. two lies for a quarter:
fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffthis holy dirt loves me and wants me near.
fffffffffffi’ve come home to break my heart on familiar streets,
and my pockets have coins to spare.
i’ve left honesty beneath the coat on the bed,
in folding chairs and nights when the scorpion stretched out
over the house of laughter and bad beginnings,
city below like a flung net. i’m here again,
and i’ve packed light: just myself and my paring knife,
ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffhoned and sharp, leaping for work.


Maria Zoccola