Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Emptying My Pockets

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Emptying My Pockets

Article excerpt

Small silver cross a friend brought

from Matamoros. Dried laurel. Keys

to a black German sedan, a house,

the reliquary under second base

in the park across from where I lived

two years ago. A woman had three

greyhounds - spotted white, fawn,

brindle - and taught them to course

the diamond there. Children watched,

yelled, bet dimes and gum

over the dogs. I never saw one win

twice in a row. Jackknife, penlight,

the last million-lira note printed,

a balled-up scrap of Whitman's beard

matted with tamarack sap

I won at the South Plains Fair.

Knocked down a record number

of milk bottles. The carny reached

for the highest shelf and pulled down

the beard-scrap saying Your prize

contains multitudes. I had wanted

the plush iguana, or the university-logo

mini-basketball, or even the phial of Keats's

baby blue tears but it wasn't my choice.

Other pocket: love letter beginning

with a line from Pindar and ending

with a line from Bob Wills. Signed

with burst-plum lipstick and postmarked

Corsicana. I wonder how three pounds

of Red River loam wound up in here,

but the clod's already sprouting cotton

so I might ought to keep it. …

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