I-79’s numbed disciples
proclaim it’s a lovely state.
Get in, get out
with the touch of priestly pedophilia.
They sit at one table delivering babies
for Wendy’s and Exxon’s cheap fiesta
chiseled upon the soil’s gifts,
fish-hooking family business,
a comfortable closet of incest jokes
packed in the get-away car’s glove compartment.
he says behind his windshield
before the gasoline fill-up,
air conditioner on high
while he fiddles for an antacid.
Leery of deer,
he breaks the speed limit
on over-packaged iTunes.
acres of pure hunting land,
through purity of rivers,
up mountainsides tirelessly grubbed,
in wild onions that found a crevice
to rise, my brothers
who never married,
except to the tobacco
of limestone caves,
all the things that never existed
in the highway mind.
And never will.
Grunt-grunt-grunt — honey-swine,
I do…to have and to hold, in mostly
gluttony and a bit of health. Minister
hams and snorts, a piglet ring squeeze
for diamond trotters. Our wedding
slop is more lard in my veins, butt
meanwhile father-in-law unpacks
his bacon, tonight’s pig-in-a-poke.
Scratch my hobo heresy with your cock-
a-doodle clock, that peg-leg vaccination
you anxiously posited, anal deposit.
Signature leftovers of insurance on tasteless
tomatoes, the premium’s dentures combed
for a bald marriage with two garages, Petty
and Mundane, her daughters. That digital
canister of morality sits in his and her cell
phone, where pharmaceuticals breed painted
Pomeranian toenails growing credit cards
while marketing a deodorant for crooked braces.
“Sir, what did you say? Are you next in line?
I said I’m crawlin’ down the tightest holler
I can find, just to get away from your slop,
feed my own pigs instead of feeding you.
The Good News
When the vicar picks up the telephone
he’ll be surprised to hear the village is dead,
stung and wiped out by mysterious events
the size of golf balls—-or kidney stones.
Well, what can I do to save it, he’ll say
before clicking the refrain: I’ll pray for everyone.
But these are galactic golf balls, cosmic
kidney stones—falling outside history’s pale,
or Minnie’s scrub bucket. These are bands
of celestial dust that stir and swirl and accumulate
in aggregate, unlike a good Sunday morning toss
of the scriptures, or of the peter who stayed
home to “work things out.” The golden canary
won’t sing for this one, won’t even have time
to fly away. Her cheap-cheep and lip-glossed
gossip will get rolled up, churned up too,
in the hullabaloo, unlike the holy holiday
glad-rag of grateful gift-giving.
Now the age will move faster. Granny will move
as dead. Or maybe come back to life. Onward
to infinity. And the vicar will be left standing
with the receiver to his ear, and a wrench up his ass,
scratching a skinned and shrinking skull.
A Modern Discrepancy
So we cover the surface with oils
and dyes and shine, disguising
in scarlet even the burned
and disfigured, faces like rotten
fruit. But we give birth to dead
breath duped many nights ago
when the greased steeples stabbed
frail rib cages of mourning doves
and eyes fell out to the headlights
of traffic, speaking in drain and pig.
Timothy B. Dodd is from Mink Shoals, WV. His poetry has appeared in The Roanoke Review, Stonecoast Review, Ellipsis, Broad River Review, and elsewhere. He is currently in the MFA program at the University of Texas El Paso.