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Across the Street from the Tree of Life

Bill Howell
From:   Porcupine Archery. Insomniac Press, 2009.


1
Three weeks ago today he fell dead in a mall parking lot,
finally catching up to everything and everybody else.
I don't think he heard any music in that last moment:
they didn't have a sound system going eight days later.
I imagine a choir. Out of it comes a stunning tenor. One
brotherly voice rising like a skylark, then it's gone.

2
Lately, I said, there are far too many Shoulds in the world.
So instead of counting sheep to get to sleep, I line up all
those Shoulds like an endless freight train highballing it
across the prairies. But no matter how carefully I try to
label flammable cars or re-route the most useful ones or
even sidetrack the niftiest, I sense that train will never stop.

3
After the memorial service we went at all his stuff with
a rented van from the airport. I finally closed my eyes
in the plane taking off for home again, imagining his body
heading feet first into the furnace. I stayed that way,
believing nothing, bouncing through the cloud cover until
this knife sliced into the sun, as easy as birthday cake.



Bill Howell's works copyright © to the author.


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