8/29/80: Norman
Stephen Gardner

This morning went well enough. All the plants
Watered. Birds fed. Caught the morning sun
While drying my hair. Between the pages
Of Women in Love I found a matchbook
From the West Memphis, Arkansas, Ramada Inn
Next to the Greyhound Racetrack. After drinks
We lost ten dollars each on the slowest dogs
I'd ever seen chase a plastic rabbit
In tired, worn circles. We came outside laughing
About the way the other people screamed
When those tall, lean racers stretched out long
Behind themselves; I told Robert how I thought
They were a string of hyphens looking for words.
He squeezed me dizzy; I spun a circle
On the sidewalk and sank like a large flower
In the center of my skirt. As my eyes
Came back to focus, I saw, between his knees,
Thin waves of heat rising like fingers of air
Reaching to escape the hot, flat Arkansas clay.
Originally published in The Devil's Millhopper
and This Book Is For Eva (Palanquin Press)

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