Michael J. Vaughn


I run east
and in the running find sunlight,
thunder, lightning breath
backbone in the dry leavings of the
Rockies do I

love the land? Of course I
love the land,

every horizon the death of twenty miles
killing the rear-view to save the windshield
choose a road you’re bound to miss something:
Fireworks for Jesus
Devil’s Tower

It’s fall the leaves
give up their blood
thrilling us with skeletons
proud to be an American
accident of birth but
thankful of my place
skipping across the country like a rock on water

One day I will grow weary and sink
fix my back to a lawn in
Syracuse, Lansing
gaze up at the nicked black
torso of birch and
wait there for spring


St. Francis of the Half Moon Bay Coffeehouse

Usually I have my back to the room
a woman squeals, a flurry of titters
buzzing the wall like a windup toy gone bad

A bird
stabbing the windows
beating himself goofy

I know exactly what to do.
Taking the shoulders of my jacket I
cloak him into a corner then
bunch the edges into a sack

I carry him outside,
wings ticking the fabric, and
settle him to the ground
unwrapping him like a present to the wind

when I am feeling particularly inept
I leave the door ajar
and spill a few crumbs
just inside


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