March 7, 2003

a couple poems by frank stanford


The book is full of my father's eyelashes
He treats the pages rough
like a woman
He pinches the daylights out of them
Mud dries
up between his heel and sole
quick as spit on his thumb
You can still smell
Four Roses bourbon in the morning
through the onionskin
He will not weep He knows
most folks don't keep their word
Anyway the rain
came through like a hitchhiker

the angel of death

A man came down the road.

I told him he better watch his step.
He asked me what I was doing,
Sleeping in the middle of the road.

I said I was an orphan.
See these suspenders?
They hold up my pants.
I sleep where I please, says I.
My pillows come from the best roosters.

The moon went back into its night
Like a blue channel cat in a log.

The man cast no shadow.

My shoes wore out
Like a thousand years in the desert.

There was a snow drift in my heart,
And in the broken mountains of the South
The smoke rose
Wet on the edge with blood.

I am getting out of here, I told the man.

He spit a fish bone on the ground.
He took off his glove.
He laid it on the bone.

What I wanted to do was run.

The moon beat like bait on a black hook.
Then there was a new fish
Sucking wind in the road.

Take off your pants, he said.
He had an egg in his hand.

Anything for the angel of death


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