gone before the solstice


cross your heart, you swear    you saw the neighbors

            out collecting cow milk for the end of the world.


flannel shirts stained,    singing the old hallelujah songs

            from the backlogs of the baptist hymnal. or maybe

reciting Plath. you couldn’t tell—just knew they were


warbling something holy.       the kind of       rumblesong

            that keeps windmill blades turning through the dog



            in the next life, you say you wanna be

something adjacent to invincible:       great sequoia.


balaenoptera musculus. femur. southern comfort. almost

            and not quite.              what you worship

    and what you run from: half-miracle. maybe


            the thing scientists call love has been an heirloom

from the old country this whole time, bubble-wrapped        

                        in the attic. still, some part of it          belongs


            to us. or maybe to our fake     children,

in their fugue-state unexistance. or maybe     to no one


at all.               cross your heart, you swear               

you’ll stick around until the week of dead winter—

            until the next body worth leaving for arrives.