ISSN 1545-2859




               TOM SHEEHAN

Movie on a Sunday Afternoon

      A stone pretends to understand the cold.
      A hedge rattles beside the road.
      Elm trees cry all along their shanks as if the bones are loose underneath and will
          the breaking.

      From my haversack a dream breaks out plump as apples.
      It is not September turning inside out all around me. It is August heat left over in
the back
          end of night and the cold that October sends early and the water true as omen
          rising in the Atlantic, ogres at odds.

      The barn shakes all the way back into its other existence, boards and beams and joists
          and lintels shudder half way into the new life taking them underground again,
          back to the old stretch, the nesting, the leaf shaken free, the sap frozen under
          an inch of bark, the sizzle in April where the sun is a hot spot and ignition
          traverses the dowsing roots and the limb of the highest arc.

      Toads move into slowed-down earth, miners, membrane diggers, sand hogs,
eaters of
          deep loam, mud suckers, rambling root rooters having left all their warts
          for my children’s hands.

      Now, under the moon’s paintbrush, grass shivers and crackles and snaps under
the awesome
         light, the ponderous gleam of cold moonlight as sharp as edges from arrowhead
         Where my footsteps fall across the tender field, heading to where The Bear
         the way, grass answers and so the moon.

      I have tracked myself to a childhood altar shaped into a cliff face by old
millennium mobsters
         shooting up everything about the old place. The gods here wore darkness well, milled
         about in hard cloisters, sang windy Gregorian dirges and airs full of earth
         and fossils and the reach of fire still seen in pied rock face. All my fears are
rooted in this place:
      height, well depths, falling free, other omnipotence, being alone, impotence, graveyards with moving shadows, engine failure, lapsed insurance, stock market ignorance, pillow on my face, electricity, love.

      It is the season for hurricanes, the old book says. You can read a page at a time
on the subway or a surface bus or on a slick, oiled, aerodynamically-designed singular of the caboose. Wind means the Earth is turning faster, spinning on its old seventeen-degree axis with hardly any worries of the universe holding it back.

      Once I punted a football ninety yards with the roll and Herky Harris (nee
Hercules Haristopolous) ran it back eighty yards before Les Woodbury caught him
from behind, too tired to move on. That prevented another hurricane from starting out
in the bed of my night and the recall of every singular distinctive action that has
levered me. That night I dreamed a girl riding on a bicycle with a boy named Claude
who had curls and Hollywood smiles at the quick draw. I saw him paw her on the
bike. Oh, Love.

      Saugus 7, Peabody 0. Me 1, Dreams 0. Some part of her flesh found my mouth.
Moonlight tastes salty, marshy, best of bracken, temptation. The sea is just over the
hill from her couch. Oh, God, the gods attend her touch. Wherever is white against a
pillow, a breast, a howling outside a thin wall as if the Atlantic has come home to
roost, roofs at sudden flight, shingles at shrapnel and the night full of odd artillery pieces, old .76-ers the Germans had, one-five-fives, eight-inch hunks of Herod at his best. Then the breast draws you back from other violences besides your heart, leaves you waywarding. Who remembers a wind with a name and a silhouette and a summoning with roses. Who remembers your hand and mouth remembering a breast
and a storm and a cry beside the hill. What’s hidden, is.

      September shakes like hoboes rising from dreams on old benches and the wrap
of yesterday’s
      newspapers, a stolen overcoat, a pizza box for a pillow because of the remnant
          even of deadly anchovies. September moves on different legs. Runs a race
          and at odds with all timekeepers. Spits out of the Island ways and Cape ways
      migratory paths we all think are reserved for the high flights of cranes and
Canada geese
      blunt as old cigars or smashed cars in New Hampshire fields once bent
      under the plow and now the press of cold steel and aluminum and chrome
      failing in the sun and hundreds of rides to heavens and harshly back to such grass
of place.

      What I meant to say was, I remember that night and you do not, and I am alone,
moving on a Sunday afternoon, Celluloid Sam at it again.

Copyright © 2004 Tom Sheehan. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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