I hike up a hill at a clip
to keep this heart alive

The Hunter’s over my left shoulder
with arms raised, always
in his almost-never-ending black
place in the sky surrounded by
blazing stars in utter space

Skirting single Cheryl’s
I wonder again, what is it she does
In summer her shingled ranch
is ablaze with lilies
She works them with a goofy hat
stopping now and then to swab sweat

I watch while beyond the blue
Orion stands with his legs apart
“I’ll live near forever,” he mocks,
and his belt-stars testify

I pick the pace up now and feel
the suck of cool air into my lungs

At the top of the hill the road’s crown
is the pate of a disturbed
menace standing; straining
beneath asphalt; bending it up

A cleat-pocked phone pole’s
draped lifeline-wires
disappear into the dark

An old sugar maple’s there too,
its cleft bark bathed in amber sodium vapor,
bare limbs a wild, strobed lattice
moving at my pace as I pass

While the Hunter in the background,
knees ever sprung for action
perseverates for years and years,
I whistle past the graveyard popping Lipitor

Jim Culleny; 1998


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