Make us up a field of bright flakes
dimming as night presses
and the sun says, forget this,
and leaves us. There’s a green barn
someplace in Kansas not on fire.
The radiator is saying, the pipes
are playing drums. We’re all stoned
and no one is paranoid. The town too
isn’t on fire, with a crowd
of blessed sneezers singing oh
holy night for the Indiglow
circle of light, the town clock
glowing against burnt wheat.
When They Found Me, I Couldn’t Speak Their Language
All the toasters chewing
the bread. The sink
going down the drain.
I’m at the mirror to see
if there’s anything in my teeth—
a black bean, a tear of mint.
The front door creaks open.
It’s my bike again, taking my wallet,
slipping out, rocking the stairs
like a giddy-up horsey.
He’ll be back. I’m out of soap.
We’ve discussed this.
But, the corner store
doesn’t serve bikes.
Everything’s occurred, but
there’s only one example of it.
At most it’s this cheetah, outside
the coastal village’s arcade,
that’s been flashing me—but no one
has ever caught it on film, so
no one believes me, or
the copper singularity in its stripes.
Jerry, coming over,
takes another dollar
from my pocket. He’s like
a ski-ball score, running up all day.
Tim leaves at noon,
yelling about his terrible weekend—
he moved some beds,
pocketed a piece of jewelry,
white out on the side-road,
hit a fucking cow.
Then he lost at Dig Dug.
There’s only one example of
everything—it’s Dig Dug.
Outside, slipping sideways
into the thin paw tracks
on the beach, I stand up
waving at that cheetah
getting pummeled by a wave.
Noah Burton was born in Kansas, grew up in Virginia, and now lives in New Hampshire. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Poetry from the University of New Hampshire. Most days, he works at a bakery over the border in Maine as well as teaches writing at New England College and the University of New Hampshire. Noah’s poems have been published in Baldhip Magazine, Dirty Chai, Basalt, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, among others, and he is a recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial Prize in Poetry selected by Tanya Larkin.