[This is a poem from Michael Earl Craig’s new collection of poems, Woods and Clouds Interchangeable, out now from Wave Books. Order it here.]
At midnight a blinkered pony clopped up the winter road.
A single toon, weirdly amid twin rows of slippery elm.
I am called Honcho. Irrevocable have been my words.
I flick my fingertips violently, as if sprinkling a crowd.
The demitasse broods. Is alone. Is lonely.
I find I cannot go over to it.
The pony looked aggrieved, moved only to bossa nova
(ears perking to “Dumpling”). Flanked with trees
the road was white, and very straight. We stood
at the pie safe wanting in, some of us knocking,
while blue dream-tassels shook gently at the cuffs
of the robe of a well-meaning cad.
Bob sucked the golf ball through the garden hose, reluctantly.
Dot said she had toe-danced her entire way through college.
I had my head down, I was thinking. A hand reached casually
into my field of vision—the waiter touched my fries with his
Band-Aid. Baby chicks stepped into the clubhouse. Each one
tripped a bit on the rug’s edge. No one stopped them.
Bob sucked a second golf ball through in half the time.
Dot held one of her ankles beside her head like a swan song.
The season unbuttoned itself in little burps of pink and white.
They fed the racehorse pot brownies in his stall. He ate them
thoughtfully. The jockey fondled his heavy snaffle. It rained
only over Roanoke. Which I guess is why I’ve asked you here.