December 5, 2008


by R.B. Morgan

Winter is out there,
Just below the horizon,
The great predator pacing
Down rivers of ice.
It will touch trees;
They will explode.

This is the predicted attack,
A time for dying,
When farmers lose cattle,
Machines, and fingers, and
Wives prone to wander
Just wander away.

The hard ground between the
Mudroom and barn
Is twenty years long,
With buckets in both hands,
The pick-up gone,
And the banker,
The banker who's just twenty-five.
She's already got
That mortician smile,
And those grave digger eyes.

It's coming on,
To kill down the days,
And blank out the sun.
Dark by 4:30 we work
Under droplights,
Heat our horse tanks,
Throw the phone as far as you
Can throw voices and trouble,
And lawyers and governments.
The dirty bastards.
They just won't leave
A good guy alone.
But she can, so she does.
What the hell, man.
Boy's in the war, never hear
From him. The girl, well,
The girl with her brown baby
In a welfare hotel.
He can't remember.
Could be Lincoln.

So he sits at the table,
Still in his coveralls,
One bulb burning,
A bottle half gone.
The hard frost darkness is all around.
It's just turned October.
He'll burn dinner later;
Sleep in his clothes.

Hard winter's out there.
He could give one
Good Goddamn.
Hard winter out there,
He's long past caring.
Beat a man bad enough,
He gets dangerous, cruel,
Colder than winter.
Dead but don't know it,
We see them each year.

And whatever they touch
Will freeze down solid.
Freeze them past zero,
They will explode.


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