Ghosts in Daylight
Tonight a boy goes to a field where he knows a horse has died.
The girl following him has cut open her leg on a barbed wire fence.
He can’t see her but he smells her, he smells her all the time
because she smells like manure.
The ground tastes blood.
Lightning swinging through the sky
like unpinned hair.
Tonight someone turns over to kiss the woman
he sleeps next to and she is not there,
gone like a handsaw missing from the shed.
Someone watches a hawk fly off
in the direction of the dairy.
Someone drops a pebble a long way down.
Tonight a woman has cut loose through a cornfield
and someone has seen her.
On the way home from Martinsburg.
And then a farmer raising his lantern in the air.
There are children stealing a ladder from the orchard.
Someone is alone at the edge of a pool.
A blanket hanging over a mirror.
Someone has fallen asleep again from the fumes.
She was always ornery, even when it was Sunday, and it was. The preacher had come by with his big white teeth and gone, shagged ass out her front door after unrolling her newspaper without asking. Now the house grew quiet again. She filled Marvin’s dish first, and then Gladys’, and then buttoned her coat. A spider crawled out of her shoe. Outside, there were stars. She was hungry for lo mein. Walking under the trees that smelled faintly of cum this time of year, there was that same empty Sunday night feeling that must have made the night guard of her heart doze off. She was thinking about the carnival worker and his broken down Cadillac, and then the singer who’s own pain had been his bread and butter, and then the storm chaser with his threatening instruments, his rear end moon-lit in the mirror. She was on Rebecca St. when she saw Eugene sitting on a wall in his red sweater. Eugene had been castrated by a landmine some time ago and had since just been sitting on the wall, night in, night out, in a catatonic state. There’s that old jellyfish, she thought to herself. The sight of him had always made Glennora chuckle. She went to him and extended her right arm in his general direction. What she was expecting, she didn’t quite know. Well, she said, don’t you want to shake my hand? Eugene sat there only breathing, looking some other place. Glennora was thinking she best be on her way anyhow when suddenly Eugene’s hand shot out, so quickly Glennora jumped. Before she knew what had happened, her hand was in his, and they were shaking hands profusely. They shook so hard it started to hurt Glennora’s shoulder. Eugene was grunting and drooling and nodding. Glennora started laughing. She thought she’d laugh her head off. Well you really came to life, didn’t you, she said, letting go, taking a step back. There he was, just there, sitting, as though nothing had happened, completely gone again, having disappeared just as quickly as he’d come. Ain’t you a goddamn miracle, she said, half-smiling, walking off in the direction of the Chinese buffet. She had never been to a wax museum, she remembered, sitting at a table near the fish tank. It would be years before she died, alone in the house up the hill, face down on a rug, a turnip lodged in her throat. Years before the boys took turns breaking all her windows, before the city was called to go in and get her birds. She loved those birds, and that’s all she was thinking about while she sat there sipping tea, slurping down beef lo mein and smiling, awful as it was.