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August


ISSUE:  Spring 2004


I am not old but old enough to believe
I know what Jimmy Stevens wants
when he invites my sister
into his Model-A. And because

I believe I know where he is going
I follow the car afoot, breathing
dust and exhaust until both
have left me

so far behind I must rely on what
I believe I know to get me
to where I believe they
are going. But I am

wrong. They aren’t here,
meaning that wherever they are
I cannot find them, meaning
that whatever they might be doing

I cannot know, cannot put my small,
helpless body between them.
For a long time I sit in the weeds
at the side of the road that failed

me, inhaling dryness, looking up
and into the brilliance
of uncountable stars. August,
the month of my birth. I am alone and

not alone, long beans in moonlight
hanging from the limbs
of catalpas, coyotes with their howling
saying something I believe just now

I understand. For a long time I sit
in weeds somewhere between
those most mysterious cousins,
knowing and belief,

my sister somewhere in a Model-A
saying what I cannot hear, touching
what I cannot reach. There are many
small rocks in the road, far

too many to count, reflecting the moon-
rays. My plan is this:
to choose one of them to kick
all the way back to the farmhouse,

to save it then to remember how plentiful
this night was (to wash it and wash it
to give as a gift to my sister), how
remarkably empty.

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