keeps thinking about the desert
about getting high
about the girls he’s fucked in any number of
shithole apartments

finds the slight depression at the far
edge of the field where the horse was buried

no songs but the
songs of bees

the smell of lilies, of
dogwood and roses, clouds like mounds of
faceless corpses circling overhead and he
thinks he had a son

remembers watching the bus pull out of
the parking lot but has no
memory of it ever coming back

and so he’s stoned at the far edge of
summer, 85 miles an hour down the interstate,
hills in every direction, shredded tires from
eighteen-wheelers, crows at the roadkill,
all of these pointless metaphors for
a wasted life

he’s 25 and then he’s 43, a father and an
emotional cripple, sunburnt, unshaven,
no use for anyone’s god

he doesn’t support the war and he
doesn’t support the soldiers and he
doesn’t support the government

walls are walls, of course, and
every window is a target

the dogs are always hungrier when the
corpses are bulldozed into pits and burned

but he’s thinking about the desert,
you see,
or he’s thinking about a woman he still loves,
and the two have become interchangeable
in his mind

he’s thinking about this child he
may or may not have

about a poem he should but won’t write

he’s lost, yes, but only because
his eyes are closed

only because he never knew where he
was going in the first place

About the Author

John Sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. His latest collections include APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press) and the limited edition chapbooks HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (2018 Analog Submission Press). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.