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This place is littered with spent omens.
The day you were born, passenger trains quit:
towns of four hundred were unworthy stops.
These are things you can't explain to lovers
when back roads are dark islands in sad towns.
You fight an awkward dryness in your throat
till you taste the softness behind her neck,
strong as the soil that mates your sweat to plows
year in and year out, all for bragging rights
for one more golden cantaloupe season.
Tears of women you should have never known
will burn like spindrift when you turn away.
As dawn drifts across McMullen Valley
you wake in a strange house, but lie silent,
hearing footsteps creak against the floorboards
the way tree limbs in the dark used to say
the time had come to cut the hanged man down.
© Copyright 2004, Jeffrey Alfier, All Rights Reserved.
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Document last modified on: 09/28/2004