You want to wrap a giant sparrow in cellophane,
but I'm sick of your island of bows,
the Great Wall of China
an expensive ribbon for horizon.
Imagine the photograph of its migrant worker
superimposed over decadence, his hands blistered
like the Metro's ants for ammonia.
In North Dakota everything is a joke. A chicken
tied in the town square, its wings like irises
above the crowd, is about to die, become a memorial
to thwarted flight. The world's largest hen
scoffs at the skinniness of its neck.
In a remote field, there's a plaque that reads,
Scandinavian Pride: World's Largest Wooden Cow.
Its udder is still under construction
after the mighty snow stalled the roads.
This landscape of giant animals must be
the memory of a child. Its garbage hooves
are bigger than Jesus, the vision of his hand
building yet another farmer
to be crushed under plows. The flock of steel geese
migrates, this time, to a place where people
have forgotten how to write anything
but their names.
* * *
In your desire, you sympathize with German-Russians
but refuse to eat the toxic cod soaked in lye.
You can only pay so much attention to snow,
its blank stare like the old garter belt
tucked into the mattress.
The locals buy you a drink and smile
when you misunderstand. In my mind,
you're always dreaming farmers onto the plains,
laughing at their laughable Os,
but you read the newspaper the same way.
To you, there's nothing funnier than an Olie and Lena anecdote,
but is their pitiful marriage a sham? Olie's mistress
works at Woolworth's and collects marble
cat figurines. After nine, she watches her lover step away
from the security exit of the rifle store,
slowly counting his cigarettes, oblivious
to the cold.
In North Dakota cars come with an umbilical cord.
Being a ghost among women, I agree
that weather is your only wife.
To think of us together in a bar
discussing the news, how
it happens every year.
Anymore, your postcards don't make sense.
I read them without considering the broken grammar,
not catching the water in your vowels.
Last night I sat between bricks and thought
of this hospital stationery on fire,
signed, Best, I am alone in your linen knot,
I hope your farmhouse is burning like the Sunday paper.
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