lisa fay coutley

Yakima, 2019

We spread buckshot across the coldest feet  

and weakest knees and once upon a time  

defined again the loop of blood: the weight

a heart can spit and sputter. Valves of veins

in frozen lakes, we thought, were roads too thin

to walk but white and endless. Fools attempt 

such ice in prayer, but lovers rarely drown

with grace. I’m sick of men who fall in love

with me. In caves, I’ll dawdle. Maybe kiss

behind some fangs of water stopped. Mid-fall,

even time forgets time. What doesn’t want

to rest. I’m numb now, shooting down the stars 

with forked twigs, polishing femurs of tired

light during smoke breaks. In the day, I swing 

the visor side to front and blot the sun

in place—refuse the thaw its seed, the nest

its egg. To hell with lists. From caves, I’ve fled

but cold I’ve kept and shifted gears. From third

to fourth alone. So what. The moon is rot

without the sun, and stars are dead. Nothing

new about it. Give me just a decade

to riddle this out. Meet me when the sun

and moon align again, when I’m ready

to pretend we’re more than passing shadows. 

Dad and I Talk E-Cigs*

So then: what will I put in my breast pocket,

what will become of Zippos the world round?

There’s sex appeal in smoking, in the perfect

table smack, the firefly, the flick and spinout.

You want me to suck air from a ballpoint pen. 

Hell, even at 60, a man’s gotta have bounds.

I wear the glasses, the dentures, the seatbelt

and drive 25 miles per hour all over town.  

If a man wants to have a Pabst and a smoke,

I don’t see a problem. Some CCR on the radio,

a steak on the grill, beans and a baked potato.

I’m just watchin’ those big ole ore ships roll

by from this picnic table (and he angles his chin

toward water receding, toward a red light’s tick).