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Hot House
—After Michael Burkard

You are not here. You don't want to be here.
You are at once rocks grinding at and flinging from us.
You always say too much: low fence, complete turn, house,
the growl of a basket.
The dog runs by the wall. The stone runs by the baskets.
In spite of the smell, the night is giving off sunset.
A fraying rope fastened, caught on a hook by the door,
is your vengeance: You say you know, you know yourself,
the steel would know the rope if it wanted.
The dog was my father's.
Not even the dog is awake. That is a family trait:
pretend sleep and slow mind.
You have problems being here with all the other selves.
You want the sun
to wander. And to wander for you.
You want the sun to forgive the things you won't think
the backyard entrance is soon to be cracked by cold.
You want the sun to have power
here, the figures in your pictures, and the wall
pounding, like the port list
of a sunken ship.
The captain has gone down.
But the owners: they are speaking with closed
mouths, black strands
of fog, and their eyes are full of gems.