Iím sitting under a dead tree
            eating a peach I stole               from a fruit stand
                                                down on eighth.
      The tree is made of charcoal.              The sky is gray with twilight.
                              Iím thinking about how rare
                                                healthy goats are these days.
            A girl stumbles up.      Sheís drunk on kerosene.
                  Sheís got those raving death circus eyes.
She wants to go to California.             She says sheís got the cigarettes
                                                                                                to do it.
      Someone was asked to put the goat in their car.
            Not an easy task.         Hooves and car doors and
                                                                                    seat belts.
The peach drips yellow on my chin
                                          and the girl says
                                                                  What about Pittsburgh?
                                                      Everyone always asks that.
                                                                  What about Pittsburgh?
      Thereís a tunnel there and a hat
                                                but so what.
                  There are a lot of hats.            Hats are not hard to find.
Itís the healthy goats that are rare.
      She says she wants to have a horrible child with me.
                                                Iím not so interested in a horrible child
                                                                              this evening.
                              The peach and the thoughts of the goat are enough.
She says sheís found a way out.
            She starts tying her arms around herself
                                                                  like bandages.
                                    This is her way out.    
            She puts one of her feet up against the side of her head
                                                    like an oblong flesh phone.
I think itís gone too far now.       She presses her toes with her fingertips
                                                                        trying to get a dial tone.
I donít want to watch this anymore.          I tell her Iím leaving.
                                                                        Iím leaving I say.
I put the peach seed wrinkled and brown on the dirt in front of her.
                        It is the closest thing to a horrible child
                                                                        we will have together.
I walk away through the rubble         following hoof prints in the ash.
                               I can hear her        months behind me
                                                    screaming into the sole of her foot
                                                            Operator.  Operator.
                                                    Connect me to Pittsburgh.
                                                            I donít believe in the goat. 

 

 

 

 

  May turning body        turning tell.
                  There was nothing we could do.
                  We all said this
                                          picking at the death buffet.
      Black enamel box        yellow petals                egg salad
                  powdered skin             nice little earrings
                                          all shine and harmless in mortuary light.
      Someone said she was aiming for something different
                  but stinking at the socks      this old haired gray girl couldnít win
      just loafing around making love to her death wish
                                    alone in her room  sad jazz moving around her.
May turning body  turning tell.
                  There was nothing we could do.
                                    She took herself out with a box of toothpicks.
                                                            Mustíve taken hours.
                                          Pin cushion flesh floating in warm bath water.
                  We stand around her with styrofoam plates
                                          balanced on napkin fingers.
                                    Aunt Mabel is picking at a kneecap.
                              Everything tastes like salt.
                              The blood mother glints near by.
                  The priest is closer than daylight.
                  Someone stirs the punchbowl slow.
      We all saw it coming.
                  Saw her hold her own death.
                              Tender like a tiny crib.
                        Kiss its smooth bone forehead.
                  Caress it with pale fingers.
                              Saw her become acquainted with its taste.
                                                                        Its smell.
                                                            The cool silk feel of it
                                                                                    next to her skin
                                                                        just before
                                                                        her teeth sunk into it.
May turning body  turning tell.
                              Curtains cover the walls.  
                                          Thick and red like remorse itself.
            An accordion plays sad in the distance.
                                          Every bite is difficult to swallow.
                              We pretend it is not dry in our mouths.
                                                Not cold in our throats.
                                          It is not about us.
                                                It is not the taste of death
                                                      hanging on these white plastic forks.