I’m docked at a lake that
the people don’t attend.

Machete on my hip to
make a devil cough up

blood    dust and light.
Hungry for ruins of

an afternoon of anything
wild and willing to stick

its neck through the roof
of the leftover lake. I’m

docked at a lake that ain’t
got no river    in a field that

ain’t    got no fence    under a
sun that ain’t    never heard

of mercy. I’m docked at the
edge of an unfortunate dinner

next to a wet knot of Cotton-
mouths    too big to see.

Animal Planet

It could’ve been the stiff crack
of bone or rapid gunfire
exploding bits of red in the air.

Because only for animals is it
natural to marinate for hours
in postmortem under sun.

The lions rip the gazelles
of themselves. They know
how sweet, the blood is.

What Deer Season Means To Me

In the house there were always two
white deep freezers packed pretty
decent with red meat. Deer season,
the hunters and the deer would satisfy
rent in season, by meat if not by cash.
It was May, I was fifteen and we smelled
fifteen or so throughout the warm insides
of the man-handled school bus, when pops
steers quick and clear to dodge the deer
and Shirlean yells, “I didn’t even know it was
deer season.” As if deer only lived so they
could be killed during deer season.
What’s a deer outside of deer season,
except a reason for deer season?

p r i d e

Give me memories as
slow to leave as snails.

In foreign    and perhaps
fragile years    I’ll still be able

to recognize semen
and expect the smoke.

Champ’s name    causes no
stress to fill the mouth.

Quieter than fear    or any
of fear’s cousins. Vernice

takes nine specific pills
between spoons of grits

and long sips of an instant
coffee I love. Robert never

told us he was ill
though surely    he knew.

I’ve seen knowledge eat large
men alive    over a summer.

Muscadines on center
stage as the native grape.

The thick skin    the teeth
pierce    breaks to pour

sweetly across the tongue.
Look    how I hunger where

there is no hunger. Look
how pops left    before we

thought he was done. Listen
how the voice    of a dead man

can live. Pack me    a bag  
I can fit    in my heart.