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Thursday, September 19, 2019


by Carl Mayfield 

A man is a child
at both ends of life

and much of the time
between dawn and dusk,

touching his toes
to illustrate how the head

can drop out of sight
and still send thoughts

scurrying in every direction
to bounce off other heads

not all there but alive
in a juice neither visible

nor mute, allowing the new arrival
to pick up a language

to discover how far away
words can be from what matters

while noticing how few travelers
sense there is but one tribe

gathered under a toxic sky
which kills everyone, though

not all look up in time to see
their assassin—themselves—

winking back. A pail should be issued
at birth, to play in the sand at first,

then later to bail water out of the desert
as the second childhood shows up,

a little too late to be enjoyed
but with no less power to stun

as it performs the dead man's float.

Carl Mayfield lives and writes at the extreme northern edge of the Chihuahua Desert. His two most recent chapbooks are High Desert Cameos and Gather Round All Ye Wild Children of the Defrocked Atom.