A bird drinks from its perception
of a bedroom window interrupting the new light.
A man wakes unscathed
from sleep that smells of gasoline,
sleep where the people kill
and then hold each other.
He’s earned the right to a safe breakfast:
three black eggs,
toast that tastes like drought,
donuts filled with a year of donut groves.
He sings to the voice-fogged mirror,
happy the air feels clean
even as it shortens each clump of breath.
No longer good for cutting,
he scolds his dull razors.
Dawn arrives because he can think of nothing better.
Shaving the window’s tangerine rind,
he smiles at the pastels of blood
abandoned deep in the sky’s low-lying bushes.
Outside, the live mandibles carry
another missing body one mandible closer
to the edges of that heat-world.
Or maybe a truck passes, packed with a family of heat-pickers.
Dressed, shaved, and fatted,
the man leaves his door-sized apartment.
Walking to the corner,
his footsteps cannot be taken back.
Everything the man retrieves in memory
justifies the cell phone’s children
chirping and scattered among the gaze
of the blindfolded trees that made it
by themselves to this bus stop town
where the stains on the man’s shirt
do not know about each other
and the cyanide lawns cause a small stillness
and the light is not on any map,
though its catastrophes can be traced.
Nothing strange about the man’s eyes
that have much to say,
and his hands and feet that remember everything.
He walks past the stop sign
at Orchard and Ramsey
because it is one of the things he does.
He sees his friends approaching.
He talks to them as they recede,
the same words as yesterday, and the day before.
Alone, each flaunts his accumulation
of soaked hydrogen diamonds.
The man arrives at his desk inside an empty butterfly.
He picks up the phone
and listens to the dust of nearby towns
whose dial tone means
there is still work.
Watched by the flowers
that forced the breeze to turn back
from its Arctic hospitals, his voice
interrupts the endurance
of a window’s slain and passing clouds,
which he will wipe away and wring into a bucket.