by Stevie Edwards



after Jack McCarthy


We recover our bodies from welcome mats & the entrails of night.

We recover our keys & wallets from what we swear will be the last bar,

the last time waking up to the shaky red dawn & knowing it’s inside us,

the shaking, the red, the cursed sky.

We know we are what the dawn hates

as much as we hate the dawn.

Sometimes we don’t recover everything. Our coats wander off

on the backs of strangers, our debit cards swept up & trashed,

our heaven spayed, our heaven trashed.

Sometimes we’re what’s recovered

from the sharp rocks of gorges, from our bathroom tile, from our beds

if we’re lucky. Sometimes we are lucky & recover

condom wrappers & say a little prayer to that

little bit of sense. Sometimes we are unlucky

& recover condom wrappers & say a little curse

to that common bit of theft. Sometimes

nothing gets recovered. Sometimes our life

is a maxed-out credit line, a bargain with a jackass God

we’ve created in our own image. Sometimes we say

fuck you & kick a wall until our toes break.

Sometimes we break the wall & the landlord levies

a fine that we’ve earned. Sometimes we earn

fines we don’t talk about, that aren’t in the books.

We bury our unrecovered, their organs ruined by the God

we’ve made: God of blackout drives,

of blood vomit & shits & lying to doctors,

God of falling over at work parties

& ruining nice clothes, God of ruining.

We bury our unrecovered in closed caskets

when we can. Sometimes it’s best to burn them.

Sometimes the family insists

on leaving the caskets flopped open—

give the undertakers some real work.

We see how fast a face can gray.

We say, He looks godawful. We pray

on pavement-scarred knees

that there is a heaven for the selfish.

We try to walk it off but can't get rid of ourselves.

We sing hymns to a better God

& sob. We eat dry sheet cake

in church basements & sob. We sob 

in the bathroom & sneak sips of burning quiet

from a flask. Sometimes we bury ourselves.