and it can be hard to know anything else
though we try harder than that all the time
to make beliefs we insist secure us.
You could be standing in a thick, dark night
raked by hovering helicopters.
Their nervous searchlights trace the city blocks
in disappearing squares you think
for a second you are the center of.
You could blink it all away, blink it
all back. “It” could be a phone
conversation that feels like a bear
pawing your prone form
while your insides go berserk
remembering inhaling margarita snowcones
against the giant shoulder
of Texas summer. Such shadows, they
are forever in my mouth until I think
how shadows could be filled with spiders
until I further think how soft they would be
if they just remained motionless and thankful
or turned into kittens. How far does your arm
reach? Isn’t there something a little further
that you want? You could be kneeling beside
the open mouth of a bomb bay, the falling teeth
nearly silent, dumb tumbling, baby acrobats.
I hope you aren’t. What bright tarantulas
result, after all. What gaudy parasols they throw
over each of their shoulders, tethered to you now
with a leash you’ll never let go.
Marc McKee received his MFA from the University of Houston and his PhD at the University of Missouri at Columbia. His work has appeared in various journals, such as Barn Owl Review, Boston Review, Cimarron Review, Conduit, Crazyhorse, diagram, Forklift, Ohio, lit, and Pleiades. His chapbook, What Apocalypse?, won the New Michigan Press/diagram 2008 Chapbook Contest, and his full-length collection Fuse, is out now from Black Lawrence Press. Another full-length book, Bewilderness, is on the way from BLP in 2014.