by Carol Alexander

The highest recorded temperature 117 degrees,
red chickens on the family farm, a gritty wind--
did you ever dream that a slaughtered hog
would scream like a man stabbed in a bar?
The wood house with barelegged daughters
is flattened by neglect, nothing left in Texarkana
except the echo of your posthumous memoir.
You blew it clear off the map of backward glance,
where a man stewed in his dark heart
made himself at home in hell,
while the river and the pecan creek
drowned in the riled flood plain.

A son of a bitch thing, to save this one,
your childish self a gift to the lens--
probably too scared not to crack a smile.
Maybe it was already happening then,
your killer the blind pornographer.
See how he pinions flesh to the barn
so that even a shadow can't slip away.

So we sat through the nauseous night,
the telling taut as a guy-wire, barefaced moon
abutting the roof at long past twelve.
You didn't say Texarkana; it was the ailing wind
that howled around the water tanks, greasy gates
and the untouched plate of honey pie.
You merely said blood and shame
and when you were finished, we let it lie.

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