Beer Run, Good Friday

Sue, if you think of it tomorrow,
can you tell Adam
I’ll need his power washer
and extension ladder again?
I’m too cheap to buy these things,
and I think it’s good for me
to be borrowing from people.
It keeps the neighborhood alive
with talk. So few of us have anything
light to talk about these days.
You’re in blue scrubs in a half-roundel
where an electric candle burns.
We wave to each other
from across the road.
The window I look out of is a flat square,
like something out of Euclid,
a proposition concerning two right triangles
making spinnakers of shadow.
Through this window the road
seems even smoother than it is.
I’m trying to read a book called
The Bark-Covered House, but it’s hard
to make a forest of the street,
a 19th century agrarian past
out of our subdivision.
It’s a defect of the reader,
not that the story’s too remote.
The planes were loud this afternoon
along their landing routes,
I’ll tell you Thursday over trash.
Then you’ll also end up listening to planes
nearing Detroit from nowhere
and noting their noise to others during shifts.
Can you hear those planes
from Beaumont Hospital
where people float belly-down like divers,
their snorkels drawing air
from stertorous machines,
hardened capillaries wiring fibrotic lungs
like the Georgian windowpanes
that line their rooms?
I see Adam is off on an errand.
He’s not the first man
to embark on a Good Friday beer run

in an F-150, but he’s the only one
I’ve observed and wondered about.
I’ve wondered, but this shouldn’t be mistaken
for wonderment. There’s enough of that
kind of obfuscation going around.
If a Friday is truly good,
there will be a final beer run
or a trip to the neighborhood bar
for several penultimate calls,
never a last call. If a Friday
is truly good, it ends at dawn.
The cedars cast shadows in your driveway
spindly as Giacometti’s men.
The siding is mossed in its grooves.
I see flames in your backyard,
the kind of fire that burns modestly
in a store-bought aluminum pit
or (forgive me) in our wizened hearts.

About the Author

Cal Freeman is the author of the books Fight Songs (Eyewear, 2017) and Poolside at the Dearborn Inn (R&R Press, 2022). His writing has appeared in many journals including The Oxford American, River Styx, Southword, Passages North, and Hippocampus. He currently serves as Writer-In-Residence with Inside Out Literary Arts Detroit and teaches at Oakland University.