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.