Mercury

The cowboy picks the pistol up
and points it at himself caught in
the mirror of some hotel room
where the Bible on the nightstand
reads itself out loud to blind men,
and always skips over the boring parts
to keep them.

After the concrete roughness cuts open
both the knees of young ones begging
for their chance to get away
with what they deep down
know they shouldn’t.
This could be anything from firefights
to an entire train derailing
like a dragon dying mid flight
from a heart attack,
from eating all our fat.

The birds swarm the little trees at dusk
looking for somewhere they can chill out
like the rest of us all sitting on our hands
while it gets worse with every holiday
and midnight.
The mercury in the thermometer
is obsolete but still retreats back to
the reservoir when it gets cold outside,
as if it were alive.

If you were smart you traded walking circles
in the desert for the endless trees here
where I am speaking from, and the green
is like a smear on the horizon.
I used to think that house would always
be there where the forest opens up a bit,
and the people walking lost out here
would realize they were always going
somewhere. It isn’t like that though,
the dust spreads out like fungal growth,
and wraps around the pale thigh
of the universe.

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