“The Hypnotist Suggests the Word Home”
Labyrinth, rapture, salvo. The release, all at once, a rack of rockets, a salve. Dismantling the elk nest,
ants in the scaffolding of our bed. Of ruin. Of run. Of our mouths—like mountains—damp and
The first story I told: The VA gave him a 100% disability rating. Addresses given,
gone defunct, turned black, amputated. Addresses long hemmed in our guts like heat, hardening at
our center like diamonds. Deployment after deployment, diagnosis. Called condition. The outline in the doorway
after dreaming. The distances crossed. We called it going to forget gone. A training. Opposite of
occupation. We called it occupation to forget waiting. The small herd pact, the smell of us settling on the
grass. What could we have done? As in, removed from. As in, caged up / set free. As in, we. He said his
stories have become our stories. From Italian salva, from French salve, from Latin, hail!, from salvus, meaning
health. The first story is always about naming, creating—the genesis of voice.
Constant state of what. Word for word for what
what wounded. Thrist of what, tending the fires of what
what of unknown origin. what a chronic condition.
what this foreign body. what slipping like steam
from a carcass on I-40. what fugitive.
what lost. what a ran horse emptied.
Inhabiting this land of what
Living through this what snow blindness.
This hail, my teeth, it grows in me this snow,
this all-inclusive what. This whoosh of whoa
goes past me, driving and what holds me
by the throat Chandelier of lightning, lamp
of what around the moon. Tide by tide, I tow each blank
hemisphere, I lope. On the highway signs say
Lay Down Your what and be Saved,
say Feed Your Strangers, say Hang In There, Baby.
Fast and metal, this blind bomb, I run.
Little transient what, I go. Caught
in the deep of the dark, my what
a thousand years or more—
kingdom of what, place of dazzling
zoologies of what, herds of what, flocks of what,
stumbling drunk under the heaven of what.
Cathedral hush and hunting, mapping
and splintering, digging and burying,
drawn and drawing on me, a cleft.
what a mirror and mile marker, portrait gallery
of having left.