Behind the Eyes, & Shining
If I could say it once, clearly. If I could get it right.
If I could hold it all together in my mind: the pollen shook loose
like dander and the sapsucker punching holes
in the siding. The chainlink grown through birch and wind
where the ranch used to be. If I could pass my body
through the seam between shingle and ridge-beam, linoleum
and plank. Return as termite, ditch-weed. If I could go back
to that July in Northampton, blowing fiber-glass
into rich folks’ attics. To when me and Ant
let the blower run and smoked blunts all day in the trailer.
To when it was a scam and we knew it. If I could admit
it was a scam: my father’s voice soft on the machine. Sober.
Asking me to call back. If I had to admit why I won’t. If I had to reckon
with what the past asks of the present. If I am here
in his van. Stale cigarillo smoke and the heavy redolence
of the body. Windows fogged over. Blankets damp with rain.
If I squat against the wheelwell, and look at his quiet hands,
and do not turn away. If they tremble. If they’re still.
Copyright © 2019 by Edgar Kunz. Used with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Kunz, who holds an M.F.A. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland, and teaches at Goucher College.