My grandfather hauled scrap metal
and telephone poles and chickens
in wire crates, his children, too,
across the state line. He carried
his voter card in his back pocket,
democrat, no one doubted it.
He liked to fish, but didn’t hunt,
and poured my suave uncle’s
trunk load of party booze
into a hole he’d dug for the purpose.
Sometimes, my grandmother told
my mother years after he had died,
he hung his pants on the bedpost.
Sure as shooting she’d be pregnant.
From the train it is easy
to spot deer in the green
landscape of North Dakota.
Rust spots on old Chevys.
The virgin’s blush. Moles
of age, cadgy blood of youth.
Strangers wobble car to car.
We wait for their return
so we can see their faces.
Late at night, while babies sleep,
the old women whisper, stop
giggles with their arthritic hands.
Moonlight stirs their white hair.
They are anemones waving
in the westward current.
At dawn everyone’s in Montana.
What did we miss, someone asks.
Deer, the old women think.
pleasure the air,
will start them?
(common on the Amsterdam market in 1610)
My daughter peels and chops carrots
even the in flagrante delicto double carrot
we'd passed around admiringly earlier
carrot from ker as in horn
toot your own or blow or honk
budge in on or slip between
as these two carrots did down in dark
slip between one another flagrant
in their purpose and so embraced
as my daughter will one day
let another slip between
welcome as a horn of scarlet