Ruthless

— Justin Phillip Reed

My horror and my need made sour housemates
in the county mansion that how could I now have built?
Bullish and antlered, I ambulated about the grounds,
insinuating my denim stitch in parts across its amber blouse.

I toed over a storm-blown bit of limb or a jay’s broken corpse
the bluebottles had yet to bejewel and swamp with gentles.
I moved on. A stink behind my muscles was the mechanical
doom of disrepair. Rust and poisons departed old motors

and haunted, with mildew, the air. In the fable, one
version of it, the boy’s vagabondage marooned him here.
He opened like a window where the woods died and the heads
of hay then began to. His mouth requested the caretaker:

—In another, his hands form a bowl overflowing with wet
cherries. He knows the name to drop. Does not drop yet.

—In another, the shape of a man astride his own vehicle arrives
aggrieved. It ambles past me to the house it never leaves.

—In another, what approaches is not a person but only the rest
of grace. I seem tame. (Touch me.) I appear to be possessed.

—As in any myth, there are unburied bones: A boy enters,
hunger lowing in him. It leads him to a door. He turns

and he was dark and long in the lumber of his humanness.
I lowered to show him my reins. I buckled my knees nonetheless.


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