Sunday, June 13, 2010


By Judson Mitcham
It can start with nearly anything, the delicate theme
of a late-night talk show or the desperate, false
laugh track of a bad sitcom. Sometimes,
I see us all sitting here
lulled off forever by a gas leak, and the TV
still selling us deodorants and beer, selling lies
about our lives. I want to turn
from the dead screen able to say
this life is a holiness, it is all we will have.
I want to load us into an Oldsmobile
with windows that won't roll up, upholstery
musty from years in the garage. I want to ride,
washed with the summer air's warm velvet cloth,
ride to where the stars come clear, where the road
goes from to blacktop to concrete slab, sudden dirt.
I want to trouble dust for miles, till we roll
to a hill overlooking a farm,
where a long gold light floats out in a field
like a lost ray of sun, where the cattle lie buoyed
by the earth, their heavy spines curving over hearts
slowing in the drift toward sleep. I want to feel
how the old car dances and trembles and kicks,
trying not to die, then click the lights off,
kill the engine, and listen
to the tree frog, cricket, and cicada staccato
the soft lows rising, as in wonder, from the darkness,
as if asking repeatedly, What are you doing here?
Why are you here?


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