Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts

West 3rd Street

by Holly Virginia Clark

He pissed on the spinning rear rim
of the truck stopped at the light,
little otter of mischief surfacing
in a brief clear river of his mind,
while the driverside door opened, then slammed,
and he folded his cock away—
the mists closing in—and smiled.
So what happened next—hands on his collar, the crack
in the jaw—I want to redeem,
though I’ve never known a pain so primitive,
a thousand white birds on fire,
and I’ll never know if he were suddenly lucid,
if he were that unlucky, but I hope, at least,
some small salvation, that he was woken
into the body he carries but hardly knows,
a fierce and brimless reckoning of the self
with the self. If pain is the holy rending
that transforms us—the ocean having her way
with our heads against the rock—
maybe he didn’t hear the driver:
Pick up your teeth, maybe only the waves,
saying, Forgive me, forgive me.

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