Christmas morning, rain hammers the roof in waves
(Jolly Old needed Gore-Tex last night)
Life in raindrops, or souls, takes your pick.
The air blew cold up north: Imagined
Clusters of souls clinging
To power lines like flocking birds,
Southbound on the instinct express,
Do souls migrate like the living
Leaving our jack-pine country
A wasteland in winter?
Tendrils on the river’s water,
Rising, falling, my eye’s no judge
Of invisible direction.
More souls in this, I think
In and out of river
Water for purity
Refreshed and reloaded,
But going nonetheless.
Met this hunched-over old boy,
Looking beat to hell,
A preview for each and all, announced,
“Man, life done put the whup-ass’ on me,
Saw sooty shadows skirting pavement
Exhaust fumes in a parking lot,
Gray wraiths against once-white snow
Fleeting, leaving, abandoning, bugging out.
Two close-dead this fall, one by heart attack
In a parking lot while
Onlookers did only that,
Another to the creature cancer,
Which ate him leisurely.
A third on the edge, the beast feeding right now
On his spine, lots of bad shit all around us,
It comes in threes, you know
Especially in this land
Where the un-jobbed rank 50th
Undercounted by half.
Our future buried behind us
We are a state in death throes,
Not yet rattling, but close.
It sucks to be us.