two hundred & eightyeight miles from where I sink into a porch chair to enjoy sunrise’s first cigarette
a man repairs a screen door, the sweat drips from his hooked nose and his tongue slips up to cover his upper lip. He holds the screwdriver between thumb and forefinger, a pristine instrument to mend
‘cause he can’t bear to see the door swing open without hindrance, to slam into the dusted siding.
Control, reparation, calm—
Two hundred & eightyeight miles from where a man repairs a screen door
His son is blinded by the weight of lineage.
Three quarters of a mile from where a man bends low to screw in the bracket, halting and tethering the screen door, a man lies in a white room, bleach & urine have stained his senses
Two hundred &eightyeight miles from where that gnarled&wooded man pleads for his wife, fearful of the whirring heart monitor and the reliance on faith
The phone dials itself, the ground moves under me in circles as I wander the yard. My screenless door slams against the wood paneled siding.
An oak tree family watches the eldest fight against cancer
like it was a forest fire in 1956. Three hundred miles away a sapling is bent, straining under the weight of inheritance.
A boy’s fingers trace route 2 on a map of the continental united states
A man’s fingers twist all the locks in the house before the ground underneath moves him to the white room
A drained man’s fingers lay motionless in the hand of his wife, he thinks about his time on the mountain before his son was born, before his son’s son was born, when the need for drink outweighed intimacy.
These weathered knuckles, heavy with the weight of tilled dirt and gunpowder backlash
These black fingernails broken by machinery out in the blue fields
A man who watched the world burst into color, lived for the earth he moved, lived for the chilled November air right before sunrise when the bucks would come across the pine ridge
Snuffed out in a moment like the candles his wife would read by on the mountainside.
I was born on a day of rest, and did that man in the white room hold me knowing how soft I would become?
“When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”—Kurt Vonnegut (via danscribing)