Someone Bellows From a Sailboat
This place is shrink-wrapped in sausage coating.
Do you like your breakfast? the waitress asks. The table is white and hard. She stands waiting for an answer. He finally looks up, to hear her.
Is your food okay? You haven't touched it.
He says, yes.
Dogs do their part to run the world, according to their stomachs.
Everyone is very careful not to look directly at someone else. Lest they should stumble. The curve of a fork is used to curl a young girl's hair. Her face is powdered with pepper. Though I have seen worse things in gumball machines.
Do you have a quarter?
The jib is taut. The white gulls look like they're being mixed up in a blender, under the blanched potato sky. Under the single grapefruit.
The green in the trees is chained together, you know, she says. The trees, they have roots. And the roots go into the same ground, you know. And the birds fly over all the trees in the same sky. And so, too, the birds are chained together, she says.
Her friend says, well, how do they fly with chains on them?
And she looks at her friend like she's an idiot.
Right about then a sparrow flies over, casting a fluttering shadow beside them, and then down through the lawn, but neither one saw it. The friend wears a yellow shirt with pink stripes. The little guru wears red shorts that come way up her thighs. There's a white star on one side. The friend picks up a twig and begins to strip off the bark, revealing the white, wet wood underneath. The other rises to leave, brushing the grass off her legs.
There's a moonshiner way on back in the hills that mixes his moonshine with lilacs, and morning glory seeds. He touches things with his fingertips in the night that aren't there. They melt when he touches them. That's why he can't find them at dawn.
The railroad tracks move from parallel to figure-eights; they get worse the farther you get from the station, like noodles thrown out the window.
They were falling apart, someone says, my mother would've been ashamed to serve those. And you should be, too.
The trains have adjusted their wheels and axles accordingly. The conductors have learned to dislike spaghetti. They make unscheduled stops at the brothels. They smoke cigarettes while dirty men in dirty shirts shovel coal into the engine's fire. They crack their knuckles before they make adjustments to the levers. They tip their hats to the mailbags swinging aboard, to the love letters, the tax forms, the ransom notes, the messages to which they will not respond, the dots and dashes, all lined up, of a certain age; all aboard, they say, all aboard, as the whistle steams, all aboard, they say, mostly to themselves.