Friday, April 22, 2016

The Blood Dark Sea Dennis Gulling

3 A.M.

He buried something
Behind the corn crib
At 3 a.m.
Then ran screaming
Down the road naked
With an axe in his hand
Headlights from the sheriff’s car
Caught him like a deer
He went up over the hood
And landed dead
On the pavement
Blood stain on the windshield
Was a red moon
Glued to the darkness

ROOM 312, BED 2

He wakes up
In a hospital bed
Connected to machines
His memory is just shards
And slivers
A gun going off in a bathroom
Somebody screaming
Running down a dark stairway
Into a street full of headlights
Brakes screeching
He’s flying in the air
And then nothing
Black nothing
Cold nothing
Like a bullet a name
Spikes in his memory
Wanda Kowalski
And his mouth hurts when he smiles
Remembering the way
She danced around the room
With a cast on her leg
And a rip in her dress she couldn’t see
He drifts off to sleep again
Tasting her lips
And smelling her dimestore perfume
As she presses herself against him
Whispering his name



He’s counting the dead flies
On the window sill
She’s picking their clothes
Up off the floor and saying
Something about her sister’s husband
But he’s not really listening
He puts his fingers against
The glass to see if it’s cold outside
Says “I guess so” to some question
She’s asked him
Down in the street
There’s a man getting groceries
Out of his car
He tries to read the brand names
On the boxes sticking out
Of the bags
She’s behind him now
Massaging his neck
He wants to tell her something
He’s been wanting to tell her
For a long time
Instead he tenses his muscles
And stares with dead eyes
Into the pale winter sunlight


When he got home from work
She was gone for good
He knew this day was coming
But he’d have rather choked on the words
Than say them out loud
As though saying them out loud
Would have made it more real
Than he could have handled
She didn’t leave a note
Because she couldn’t think
Of anything to say
That would have made him feel better
He found one of her blouses
Wadded up and sticking out
From under the bed
Her smell still on it
He buried his face in it
Breathed it in
And smiled
Still tasting her on his tongue
Still touching her in the dark
Still hearing her speak his name
Like a prayer


She only drove by the house that one time
Just to see who had moved in
She didn’t even slow down
Saw some toys scattered in the yard
And a black pickup in the driveway
With Minnesota plates
The front door was open
And she could see the tear in the screen
Had never been fixed
She got the house in the divorce
But couldn’t stand living there anymore
It would always remind her of him
Of his silence and distance
The cold inches that separated them in bed
Now it’s someone else’s address
Someone else’s home
That’s getting smaller in her rearview mirror
She can’t think of any place
She wants to be right now
But she wants to keep driving
Keep speeding somewhere
To feel the unbearable peace
That comes from always moving
And never arriving

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