Everyonehere has a scarecrow
smile, dried up and useless as the land.
Makes my skin prickle, how these dead
stalks like to hiss at closed windows.
Bent and forked like devils’ tails, they scratch
this hot itch behind my eyelids. Brand me
with blistered hands. I know southwest
summers, that writhing sort of unbearable
just between those familiar places,
the post office and the farm.
A stranger follows, and I tremble. Terrible
always happens here- the sour dirt
under his fingernails claws me
raw. My voice evaporates, a choke stirs
the scorched earth beneath my naked
skin. I think of the pig running
over hot coals at last year’s barbecue,
the sound of its fat flesh
being ripped open, nice and slow.
There’s a coyote’s skull decaying
beside my head: bone unholy white,
the meat around its teeth a withered brown.
I gaze into its gaping eyes and wonder,
if I give you my ear, will I finally hear the ocean?