The holy abracadabra of this evening,
the wind blowing over the house,
prying the gutters from the edge
of the roof, the sky has subtracted
itself of even starlight, and the police
sirens chase their victims over the frozen
puddles and sewer grates.
I was fifteen and numb and floating
Out of my body, and I was forty-seven
And my body was numb and I was
Following it down a staircase
Like the owner of some unpredictable beast.
Even today, as I walked with Caroline
To buy avocados at the market,
I saw the flat horizon and felt so keenly
The soil I could at any instant return to,
Me, my body, my lumbering animal,
Growling and hungry, so animated
And vulnerable. I played my guitar
Just moments ago, a chord progression,
A circle of fifths, swirling and phased
Through an amplifier: Hey, Joe! Where
You gonna go? I didn’t sing it,
But I asked that question with the strings.
I held my guitar like a paddle. I rowed
Into the direction. It kept repeating
Itself. It didn’t matter if I knew where I was going.
Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, and Poetry East. His collections include The Wine-Dark House, Crazy Star (selected for the Loess Hills Book’s Poetry Series in 2005), Bum Cantos, Winter Jazz, & The Collected Discography of Morning, winner of the 2013 Blue Light Book Award, and The Philosopher Savant.