Election Night. A Walmart parking lot.
A green fog off the half-drained reservoir
had jumped the fence to breed with puffs of pot
issuing from a mag-wheeled muscle car.
Like always, sick of work by eight o’clock,
I had gone out and squatted on my knees
among the dumpsters near the loading dock
to feed a pack of strays. The runt Burmese
that goes by Freak was up on lizard hips
licking the gravy from my fingertips.
So cute – one-eyed, scab-nostriled, stumpy-tailed.
Because, whichever rancid sack prevailed,
that evening meant, like, Fuck you all – The End,
civic Seppuku, the Apocalypse,
I guess I itched for something, some hushed friend
too innocent to be American.
Everywhere gobs of noise just wouldn’t quit:
a speaker-mounted Wrangler nagging Vote!,
fireworks like gunshots, bleats, gunshots again . . .
I grabbed my mutant future by the throat
and wrestled it, a squall of snag and spit,
into the footwell of my shotgun seat.
The whole drive home I wept to hear it…
This poem appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, in the Nov 30, 2016 edition.