Emmet Martin Penney

Tell me again about the rain barrel of dog bones
we found in the field of felled timber. That the moon
sat a chewed nail spat into the dawn sky and that
the trees had long untongued themselves

for winter. Tell me it was so cold our rods and cones
misfired: everything orange, counterfeit. In the dream,
you are the sheriff. Your revolver was a gift from your
father and your grandfather shaped its grip

from the antlers of an enormous elk. You flick
lit cigarettes at my forehead. I tell you, I hate the grind
of restraints on my infected cuts, that I never
set fire to the photos of your mother, but your one

good eye hounds the dark for clues. Today,
the crows gather in, then uncoil their blackery, but the bats
won’t return until summer to marshal whole the moths
that hazard the porchlight. Like last year,

when the fireflies you caged in your hands threw their
panicked lights against your fingers. I prescribe for myself
vulgar cures: a fist of mice hearts under my pillow
to calm my dreams, a vial of baby spittle to blunt my heart.




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