Community College of Vermont, the Early Days
He read Bukowski to the young women,
All legs and booze and sloppy sex,
Under the stark fluorescent glow,
In the borrowed bank basement.
They came to learn, leaving behind
Children, lovers, husbands, abusers and family
For a while, an hour or two, to learn
In hopes of becoming.
He waited outside, fuming, pacing, hating.
What did she get listening to that?
Why do you read that crap, he spat.
To learn, you know, to be free of you
She thought, with hopes of becoming.
When I Awake
The underground fence that shocks him is lifeless.
His collar removed. Now,
Tethered with thick, yellow, nylon rope to the creaking barn.
A ship bound to the dock in a familiar port.
He waits, unbelieving, until darkness.
In the gloom, at feeding time, unchained.
Crushing the raw chicken proffered in his powerful jaws.
Roaming the earth until dawn.
Lying in the gravel driveway when I awake.
As still as milk.
I offer him a biscuit to entice him back to his tether.
Turning, he looks at me with rheumy eyes.
With effort he rises to his haunches, and finally stands.
He slowly, deliberately saunters away,
Towards the promise of the dirt road, that offers death
The metallic din of the riding lawn mower is muffled by the walls of the house.
The boy, not yet fourteen, half-lies, half-sits on the couch reading “Hiroshima”.
His face is serious, brow furrowed as he concentrates on the text.
“There was a hospital near Hiroshima, after the bomb dropped, that had five doctors.
There were fifty thousand people who came to the hospital in need of help.
After nineteen hours the doctors wanted to sleep but the injured yelled and begged and the doctors could not rest”, he told me. “It was a terrible thing”, I said.
I went back to reading my book and he his.
The riding lawn mower was now farther away from the house, harder to hear than before.