michael craig





A foal had been born,

had emerged on thin stilts

from the tobacco barn,

and with woodchips stuck

to it. An ice cream truck

looked lost and dragged

behind it a string of soup

and corn cans. I sat

on the porch and forced

my thoughts on the front lawn.

Very pale-looking, sure. Very

tightly gripping my beer can.

You sat with me.

You tipped back your head

so I could look down your throat.

The foal tottered by, at a dead gallop.

This is very awkward, you said.

Yes, I said.

This is, you said… well…

and then you nodded off.

Yes, I said,

and then I nodded off.


When I awoke you were gone.

And a faint rumbling from

the tool shed? All day

things had seemed a long way

off, as they sometimes do

to a man under chloroform.

A yellow bird flickered past

and I could hear the duck chasing

the cows around. I went

and stood on the lawn and

smoked cigarettes, one

after another. The sky was blue

and the grass was green.

I considered this

and blew a smoke-ring at

the cat, feeling suddenly

combustible, some dreamish,

autobiographical thoughts

floating past me tied to a raft.

And then I guess I nodded off.


When I awoke I was lying on the lawn,

my cigarette still burning

between my lips. I finished it

and stood up and flicked

the butt at a fencepost and walked

toward the barn. It’s raining, I said

to myself and it was.

And I have to go feed the matted ones.