The Linear Model
Your last nightfall in the Great Basin,
where gamblers skin out and whiten
like clockwork. Where cold is lips
curled back and the wind is molars.
Where there’s mercury, and greased dark
comes on like an express train from Reno.
Someone you scarcely know has tied you
down on the tracks, made sure the ropes
were not too tight, but tight enough. Now he’s
gone and, strange, you’re lonely for him.
Nobody ever tried to make you famous.
The train roars applause.
You’re in the spotlight, the white
tunnel of its travelling. Engines and
their single‑minded momentum. Night is
a vehicle of regret. Dazed cattle cars
and heavy machinery into the dry heart,
hurtling. Your long impatience over.
This is your life, the back page
of your local newspaper between ads
for furnaces and vacuums. Someone cuts out
a neat rectangle with its misspellings. All
you wanted, to be loved like this. He lays you down
in a drawer with stopped watches. Forever.