Auden’s Spit

by Shawn Young

He rides in his car and thinks of her smell,
his mind awash with candy-cake memories,
with horrid back-grabbles, with disquiet
preambles. The mangled, shorn digits of

Seldom does a day run away that he
isn’t held tight in her wicked clasp.
The anger, too much for him,
for this, that, this, that, this, that…

Alone, the road, his thoughts, her face,
the last moment, the ire, the phone call,
the blame, the tragedy, the gun. Back-peddling
away. To the nameless shadow, the skewed vision,

It wasn’t the same, the conjured image of
magical journeys, atop the hill of fantasy,
surrounded by dancing, cackling flowers,
shrieking in anger at the moon, brilliantly

Seemed like a lifetime ago, he thought
in cliche. A lifetime of want, of fangs,
of echos in the everyday, of coal cars,
expertly leveled, the overpass with the graffiti,

Even when the wind blew spikes, pelting him,
his attention returned to her in a hospital gown,
the ringing in his ears, the promise of safety,
that last, wooded argument of contempt, all

Shot in the head. Self-inflicted. Lies. Whose
hands? Who rocks the swing, hard-nosed?
Now he recites Auden when we drives. “If I
could tell you.” But he can’t. Because time told him


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