- Leaving Cantwell, Alaska, and: Winterkill
Leaving Cantwell, Alaska
I don’t know what to sayexactly. College kidswere all over the place.
That’s my story about Denali,a big summer camp ofemployees and little
“make-believe” dollhouse shops.Laptops. And smartphones.The far-off mountains never
made it into sky. The lowclouds might make a great postcard.My advice: stay away
from these people. (I wascomforted by the windwith voices in it, lifting
away.) I drove around ahome on wheels. Found a lakeand slept there. Next day: the
land on either side ofthe highway grew emptierand emptier. Then I [End Page 160]
hit that point of my caveman’sblunt familiar (I touchedmy skull; it’s thicker than
I care to tell). I knewI’d like to fade in some tallanimal’s growing shadow.
As well I might, Coriander; the yard is buggeredwith vermin—blue, blue—every second zooms
backward: asubconscious aphasia … this year’s emotional coordinates, are they not?
You start panting amidst the death’s heads,yellow fangs, the vulgar remains just now thawed, you can plan your own divergence …
Dream wasthere were several opossums, each getting a manicure. Darling, she warbled,
her hair out at sea. Darling, over gale winds.But she’d surrendered these words inside the cloud of the real things’ going:
by MarchI’d discovered the collapsing heads, by late April maggots (a more
buoyant affliction). She’d dared me to say it, it’s over, because it was finally happening. I
just wasn’t capable of it yet. Though neither was I complacent, exactly. Please let it go, [End Page 161]
sweetheart. I’dalways be alone; the animals’ bared gums & splayed-wide ribs were unfortunate inducements. [End Page 162]
David Dodd Lee is the author of ten books of poems, including two books of erasure poetry, the most recent of which is And Other, Vaguer Presences, a Book of Ashbery Erasure Poems (BlazeVOX).