Lawrence Eby


I could have told your story. I could
have written something to complete
you. You’re a ghost in a dirt-mound
now, scraping your way out. I called
you on the phone to tell you who died.

I said it was you. I said this was something
we knew would happen. But you never

answered me and the weekends
drifted like an ice cube in a glass
on an airplane in the turbulent
culture of America. Anyone

looks beautiful if you get
close enough to them. Maybe
it’s the desire for skin, maybe the chandelier

giving off that vibrant light,
maybe we’re
the chandelier, maybe
it’s just a game we play
to not see how light
bends and reflects, bends
and reflects.


The only pain I’ve known scrapes
by me in the hallways, little

shadows of a coyote—ripped
jaw, hundreds of wasps gathering

a meal on its bloody snout. Brother,
you simply wake up the trees

spreading out their flighty wings to yesterday
last year, or many years ago when I

knew more than just a slick
tongue of conversation. Dining room

in the moonlight out in a field.
The rain is beyond these

grasses, trimmed low—stalks
decomposing in a valley:

all of us. Hungry. Rustling in
our heavy, wet coats. To be

indoors in our rabid valley meant knowing
your teeth. When the packs

rolled in, the booming of a gun
set them right, set them down in the dust

for us to see, for me to remember—I
wonder what you would have done

if the wasps had feasted on your mouth, or
escaped from our valley, our

hive we felt was endless with
thicket. We were generations of removers,

seeding a maelstrom of flesh in our dry,
unwashed land.