You’d stood shocked – hipshot with one leg cocked at the knee, one hand jammed in-
to your oblique, digging four fingers under and up the lowermost rib as you did
when furious, anxious, or needed to pee bad enough.
You couldn’t believe what I’d done. How could I have done – we’re so done, and on,
and on. In visible twisted ways you felt like you’d won and loved it.
I saw it: those corner-of-your-lip twitches before you’d look away
out the small square front-room window as though expecting the mailman vaguely,
or some friend, say – Maggie, maybe.
Your note was a shot to the back of the throat, sap from spines of unknown Arizonan cacti (I thirsted always but never quite knew what for).
I found en route to the green milk:
I’m leaving –
don’t dig up
it said, pink post-it stuck to the fridge, scrawled in red, hasty italicized, hand.
Did you mean the wild ones you heard about in South Dakota, born with no tails and long bluish leonine manes, the nocturnal ones the Indian who ran the ranch you worked on called nektosha? You said he’d said nektosha were seen in the light of the moon and heard in calms before thunderstorms alone, for then they breathed the loudest.
The man was Potawatomi. And you were like what? – twenty-three.
It took you so long to be young, and longer to begin to believe.
The shape of the shadow of the lampshade cast on the ceiling by the flickering bite
of candlelight is light-bulb-like, hot-air balloon, or pear. I get up to blow out the flame –
but even in darkness the form is still there, as sunk suns keep glowing nights that seem like they’ll never end less and less by the moment, or hooves that no longer gallop and tromp and kick up dust in Dakotan dry air…
and it used to be you who blew out the candle – just superstition you said. But I knew what you meant: your visions of all of it – everything – burning,
well they took the wind right out of you.