James Engelhardt: Regarding the Distance Between  

   Our Suburbs

It was bitter vacation
he will tell you, an ocean
of stinging and poisonous things.
Nightclubs of women wearing only
three starfish, drinking curaçao,
not sharing black cigarettes with him.

Home is not vacation,
the bitter man will say,
at home, children come to the capitol
for the football championship.
They are soft and incomplete
but imagine their incomplete deaths
by suicide to be hard-edged, glittering
and so beautiful you will wear
their pictures around your neck.
They cannot follow your directions.

The neighbor’s girl has a telescope
she uses to see into the earth.
The bitter man, walking through crickets,
stops to talk with her.
She holds her knees to her chest
and tells him about the grinding
she sees under the skin of the earth,
the weeping of boulders,
the grit and metal of hot confusion.



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