I’ ll know the time to leave the room
where I’ ve been growing hair
from my face, drinking dark beers
when the light in the lake bums out.
That’ s when fish
turn on their music.
They lie in a blue current
waiting for the moon
to pass over, and the fishermen
with their lanterns know this
as they spill a can of sweet corn
and wonder if they spoke
what they were just thinking.

I clear my way through the fog
as music will break through static.
The frogs strike up,
a window goes out
in the Home for Elders.
Don’ t you wonder why
it is built far from anywhere,
as though memory needs a terrain
for forgetting; blind
driveways to lost roads.
As for my own parents, they did not
grow old. What I know:
dinners without conversation,
stars that shine for anyone.
I know my time
is brief. I know love of the cut sleeve.

I want to say
don’ t feel sorry for men,
those who leave women
smouldering like cigarettes,
those who are fond of burials.
War is a habit of mind,
I swear by my mother’ s gender.

Tonight sticks in the leaves
are slick as pilot snakes.
Wherever I part branches
no one is in a boat,
no one has stirred a wake.
Not jackknifing off the dock,
it’ s hauling myself back up
that gooses my titties and makes my peter shrink.

Don’ t wake the cottonmouths.
Summertime. If you were here
and you remembered to stash your smokes
in a Glad bag so they didn’ t soak like mine
we’ d fall quiet now as pollen
on water, I would
tell you the true story of Urashima
and the turtle.