you don’t know how long the fires have been up north
burning. long enough to take a clear evening
sky and make it wistful. the air hung in haze,
bringing to mind the brutality of our ingenious species.
even if you are a conduit for love
we still find a way to hate you. a talent
this celestial makes one look naked. the sun is blood
red tonight, in the sighing high summer
sky, northern and glowing. the same way
the moon would rise, red in the peeling menace
of chicago smog’d summer night sky. we’d swim
in the soaked cloak of those humid nights,
gunshot cracking like white cap.
you brother in law asks you, excited, to go
to the playground and look at the sun. the playground
is built upon loose gravel. it always gets in your shoe
and makes fool of your naked foot.
when you eat, it’s hard to bite
and chew and swallow with swagger. there isn’t much
armor available when saliva is helping
to keep you from choking. the sun is blood
red from the smoke, in the sighing high
northern summer night sky. glowing. come to
the playground and take a look, there’s a good vantage
point there. the playground is built upon loose gravel,
and the blood red sun reminds you of poverty’s naked need.
chicago smog nights on the north side, chicago river hot, dry,
stinking. firecracker, the younger brother of gunshot,
eager to get off the porch and out into the street.
to prostrate in the street.
you do not go to the loose gravel lot to look at the blood
red sun, instead you go to smooth wood
floors of your apartment. where you hide
in a poem, naked, in the same way
that some hide in the bleeding
rapture of starving sun.