Talking Shop

The silent isolated farms

are covered by a sea of haze

from a wildfire somewhere

to the west of town.


The smoke fills the world

the way the heiligenschein

of the woman who lived

in this house before me


inhabits my liver.  I could sit

in the mechanic’s shop & listen

to the passerby’s stories

of hotwired boats & squandered


family fortune for hours

but the evening draws out

vulgar language from the calendar

peddler in the corner who knew


my father.  Walking home I see

diseased faces wheezing

in the branches.  On the porch

a spider lets herself down


from the eaves.  She falls

like an ember in the dark

from the celibate woman

ranger’s watchtower.


People say after the farms

the town will be next to go.

I open the windows & mind

the whispers & breathing I hear outside.