JOE HALL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT IS SO COLD IN MY HOUSE EVEN THE FRUIT WON’T RIPEN

There was a man and a woman—a couple—I slept with
We interlocked genitals and orifices
They loved each other, but they did not love me
I asked you to sleep with the woman while
I slept with the man. We all slept
In one bed in chaste clothes, our dreams
Flickering above our smooth faces, shifting
Gray and blue lights—our bodies turning into each other
Like clouds in a laundry

From silver bleachers, other people watched us
They unbuttoned themselves, their clothes fell away
I don’t know what they did
But it was chaste, because we’re Amish somehow
Dealing with a heavy ancestral sadness
My chin on your breast
My forehead in your beard

 

 

MAYBE DON’T KILL YOURSELF

We were standing in the duckblind with a lantern
While the dark water pounded the dark shore
Drinking homebrew and for unclear reasons smoking
Menthol cigarettes—I did admit to an uptick in
Suicidal thoughts but in the camouflage netting, drying juniper boughs
You said you were past that; you were thinking a lot about
How do you—with two kids—kill yourself and
The wind blew across the river and threw waves over
The sea wall, gripped and shook the structure
I looked at you and you looked at me and later
You had some pills of mine, because all I had to give
Was stupid, we touched and fumbled
And righted ourselves through a song a third
Friend wrote—Your life is a hurricane, you heart
Is a lion—I know it doesn’t sound great when you read it
But we couldn’t find work, we didn’t know what time it was
I thought about throwing my fire extinguisher through the window
You disappeared for awhile, our muscles weren’t
Flexing right, our brains were out
We played another song inviting the ghosts
To climb out of their graves in the family graveyard
I walked to the river and you lay
Down on the shore, thunder shook and tilted
Things, someone was wildly discharging a firearm, you
Had your ears in your fingers, stumbling, mouthing
No no no as tattoos sprouted across the backs of your hands
Wild stemming roses in profile, shaking out their
Blossoms, as the river became a lot of white crosses
And the sky a lot of gray skulls, and the horizon became
A pixilated hamburger and I laid you down
I laid you down and put on a bluegrass record
Chesapeake Born, I’m Chesapeake Born
And Bound To Thee, And Indeed
I’ll Always Be, and there you lay and there I lay
With the sound of frogs spawning in the ditches

 

 

 

 



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