Poetry 2012 / Volume 43

Turning Early — Jim Daniels

Rain, and a fight with an old friend.
Sober, which makes it worse. Nothing
taken back. You keep drilling, can’t
stop. Into the molten core. Rain sizzling
in the hot spittle. Rain on your bald head.
You’d look ridiculous duking it out in the street,
laughing police grabbing you both by the ears
like schoolboys.

Loyalty, betrayal, what else?

In the woods behind you, one tree turned early,
its yellow leaves surrounded by green.
Was it a favor from the sun, or from dying inside
You both should be standing under it,
rain knocking leaves down over you
until it is just bone and sky. He slams
his car door, the predictable punctuation
of angry departure.

A hundred years ago,

that slamming would not be possible.
Just stomping feet, barely audible, ellipses
trailing off into nothing, possible reconciliation
in the infinite.

Today, grief washes down.

His windshield wipers powered by rage.

A hundred years ago, the rain fell.

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