Pyrophoric

Walter Bargen

One of those nights when the drawers all through the house
lose their handles. Nothing left to grasp not even ignorance.
Space foreclosed and dumbstruck.

The stars counterfeit. Quantum momentum off in every direction.
The knives sequestered, feeling lonely with no one to threaten.
The forks thanking the governor for a last minute reprieve.

Spoons happy to continue shoveling stale air from one side
of darkness to the other. On the kitchen walls, pots and pans hang naked,
reminiscent of too many blurry black and white photographs:

a far hill, someone on their knees, an innocent looming oak branch,
barb wire coiling tight around the light. Your face mirrored in polished
copper-bottomed pans, stare back even as you turn away.

In the bedroom, the bodies are stacked under encyclopedias of sleep
until there is nothing left to research and the years confuse their
timeline. The sheets brittle as old newspaper headlines.

You are so thirsty. Water slips though your hands.
Fingers clamped together hold back a drop or two
of night before crossing the desert, each step a spark.

Sirens race through your veins. Your flesh sharpened
on bones. Each step leaving a trail of sparks. In the sky,
Janus stares: the moon a swinging stethoscope,

a flattened bullet. In the morning you look
for a screwdriver to solve all your problems: tool box
stuffed with antlers, feathers, open crab claws.

You become a danger to strangers and friends.
The drawers slide easy as morgue trays.
Pull and there you are smiling. Push and you are gone