Laramie

is nowhere if not a place

to wear ten gallons

of nothing on your head.

You’re swimming

in those clothes of yours,

Johnny. You know it helps

to buy pants that fit.

Wear the poem

pseudonymously like the hat

that is the custom in these parts.

Remove it once indoors.

Don’t speak of dust

settling in the vague future,

alimony and child support

coming through.

The horses kick up

clouds of it. Dust

on rein and saddle leather,

dust on martingale

and blinder brass,

faces talced-up

like the dead.

It is a fact of houses

their mothers decry

as their erstwhile fathers

become it—dust on glass

frames housing pictures

of broken family units

that look ridiculous

from this vantage point.

Dust’s the make-up

the furniture keeps putting on

like a child

trying to look older than it is.

Supper is a broken puppet

theater. The aliases

are endless as the horizon

seems to be.

 

***

Cal Freeman was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He is the author of the books Brother Of Leaving and Fight Songs. His writing has appeared in many journals including Southword, Passages North, The Journal, Commonweal, Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Review. He is a recipient of The Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes) and winner of Passages North’s Neutrino Prize; he has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and creative nonfiction. He teaches at Oakland University and regularly reviews collections of poetry for the radio program Stateside on Michigan Public Radio.

 

 

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