Table of Contents



Laurie E. White

You have been, these days,
mostly still when we pass the
steel birch. When you asked to choose
gold against ripening gold fruits
you spoke of the train
held against rocking stakes of fence
at the back of the parking lot, its birth.

You shook your head at the man
who came across you watching this,
standing far either from any trails upward
taken away from a hill or of clean passages
across town on pebble-grown
melts and straws as the ice thinned away.

You watched my face string teeth, a light string
and water streaming along the under-eye stop
above cheeks. In mines, you set the market price
for platinum, selfish. You addressed letters to aunt
and grandmother, took names
and spelled them.

You wished a couple of times snapping the stick
to use as kindling. Your fine
wood-burning stove, your fine winter gases
heating the house. In more mines,
sick with sticker’s adhesive,

you took solvents from their containers, carefully
marked, and spilled them
into other tin cans
lined up as targets. These cans
hurt, so serrated, rung
with gunshot, gunshots stop
and an insect more wobbly in the after-wake
of calm when suppertime asked
the children around to return.

What have you
not done, James Easter,
to bring the shovel
and return with dirt? But bring the shovel
and return with more.

You returned handfuls of the tree
to the porch. Mending animals outside
you are fire just for moving
out of the house earlier
than the terms of your agreement.

You have legal binds. I am fitting inside the keyholes
that allow placement
on thick metal rings, I am fitting your promises
around there, for you to find. Clue finder,
would you run with conditions?

You have ailments gathered up reserved
and turned around themselves
as in a circle, bedding down for sleep? I have
no reverence like standing outside in stockings,
the cold beginning finished.





After "The Idea of Order At Key West." After watching a train pass outside Green Hanger laundry/car wash in Missoula.