Who does well in this town where night flaunts
her ragged satin, her snaggletoothed mouth
of stars and moon? Not the processed steak
encased in dirty ice, nor the crocuses
unfurling amid street clutter. Not the rabbits,
those gray disciples haloed in headlights,
nor the terrified buck hurling itself
through parking lots, its legacy a bloody
hoof print stamped into a truck’s hood.
I never hear trains anymore. In the square,
the dancer’s statue dulls from lack
of eyes. Another night drags on, the biscuit
truck’s beam a satellite among the bars
that spit out drunk college kids who scatter
like minnows. In this town where hands
are too polite to roam, I remember the place
where night slashed herself on palm fronds
and swayed in a heat that knows the open lips
of a loaded gun, where the guilt I devoured
dripped with honey, and I clung on to whatever
man I loved, as if at any moment my life
could be wrenched from my hands and had.

Anne Barngrover