because he screwed the elbow girl,
Wilmot took up photography— hay bales,
Mail Pouch barns, deserted farms,
fields needing a woman’s touch.
When winter came he shadowboxed
himself drunk on the back porch
shirtless and scared because approaching
thirty, like Indiana winters, can make
a man act like the full moon’s liquor
half fills his glass. Ripple couldn’t
save his old man in the cold woods
nor could it move the man from Bluffton
last week at The Plowman when Wilmot
wanted something unnamed. Not
a fight exactly. Maybe an exorcism,
more or less. Something all guts no skull.
The Bluffton man said he’d had a hundred
bales of mixture: Alfalfa, Timothy, and
Grass, second cutting, three twenty-five
per bale. Fifty cents more for Alfalfa
and Orchard Grass only, no Timothy.
Wilmot didn’t know shit about hay.
Wilmot’s grandfather was the Timothy
who built the farm, who painted the barn,
who willed his family never to sell,
but they did and Wilmot bought it back.
The Bluffton man was raving about
those bales, how he’d ripped off
some wannabe city shit turned farmer
and Wilmot, without a second thought,
threw his Pabst in the Bluffton Man’s face.
I don’t know what kind of god you know,
the Bluffton man said, but what you done
here today’s a sin I can’t let go. If that be
sin, which doth the manners frame, Wilmot said,
if that be sin, which in fixed hearts doth breed,
he continued, staring in the man’s face, then
love is sin, and let me sinful be.
Then they were in it. No more words.
Wilmot didn’t know shit about fighting.
The man’s fists fell like snow—
the night a glitter-starred place. Wilmot
laughed and kept laughing. The man hit
and kept hitting, said, you better quit,
better quiet down. Wilmot laughed and cried,
then cried. The man bent over,
double fisted Wilmot’s denim jacket, spit
between his eyes and walked to the jukebox.
Back home Wilmot stood in the bathroom.
She would’ve looked him over, known the
unexplainable wild he sometimes needs,
maybe said, you’re smarter than that, while
he’d shake with satisfied shame like
an angelheaded hipster burns for the heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo. But she was
somewhere riding a silver bullet to somewhere,
so he walked outside, the snow like a womb,
and lay down in his naked, endless head.