Home > Poetry > The Vial Often Breaks
Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
The Vial Often Breaks

Late—the music hissing while it burned—
_         _then Zap! we heard a Zap!
& it was ash-heaps behind the hills in the big but empty state.
_         __         _I let the leftward alignment have its way—

a.m. retraction of the normal pacts of traffic—
_         _into the wrong lane, into the wheat.
Sing! This is what I’m always talking about!
_         __         _The wheat-stalks folded for the truck.

In a minute the truck stopped & rolled a little back.
_         _Annie slept across the seat. I wanted to tinkle in the wheat.
At the slam of the door & the shake of the truck she woke,
_         __         _got out & walked w/ me.

I felt cured, you know? Relief, smell of the wheat,
_         _hearing Annie tinkle too a few steps off—
I mean, what map-maker dreamed this cross-hatched way?
_         __         _Annie slept in the cab a little more.

There was a diagram in the sunrise—believe me, I was ready for it.
_         _I wet my finger & traced a big double-x on the air.
We exploded every single idea.
_         __         _There was a skill in the act of relinquishing.

I crawled in & opened Annie’s dress & sang against her little neck
_         _& the f.m. tweetered back to life—I swear!
it was the same song I was singing!
_         __         _It was great she got to wake to that accident.

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