Hash is slung in the Virgin hills
where blood soaks land and
blood spirits glide
about the night mantle
that deepens this halt along
the Appalachian Trail.
This is Antietam.
Ghost soldiers anchor stools at the counter.
The one that walks the back roads sits
in an overstuffed chair watching
with detachment the proprietress
trade porn tapes with the waitress as
the proprietor looks on, amused and wily.
This proprietor turns his lumpy
denim-obscured noodly crotch pole toward
his sixteen-year-old helper’s tight ass
and rubs as he slips behind her.
She doesn’t know he did it on purpose.
She’s dreaming about Sam,
the black boy she likes who likes her,
and agonizing the fact that her father, a lawyer,
tossed his brief case which broke a lamp
and sent her mother into
an apparently permanent state of vanish.
The proprietor’s nostrils flare at the delicious scent
that rises from this child’s hair
as he passes behind her.
Strands of her chestnut burnish
brush his chest.
His eyes shine at a thought.
The ghosts watch but don’t care.
That one that looks like a farmer
and claims to be a farmer?
He peers at the engine of a broke down car
that rests along the outside curb.
What kind of farmer’s never seen an engine before?
Back at the threshold, he’s plopped
and smiles a soft, everlasting smile
at a bumpy, beaten, red plastic Coke-flourished cup
brimming with sweet tea and
delimited ice floes
that sits untouched
hours and hours and hours,
elbows shifting on cool,
water-pooled chipped formica,
his eyes hiking the human varietal topography
that eats, drinks, moves in and out,
and chatters in languages
foreign to him,
foreign to each other,
a mass of corporeal curious
constituents of the right here and now,
shunning the chilled region
that occupies that particular stool
for all time.
He settles deep with the
spiritual heft of death.
This is a heavy old man for a ghost.
Sausage gravy and biscuits.
Iced tea and pie.
A frigid blast with another black eye
and a crusted cut,
Phyllis shoulder butts
the transparent gateway agape.
Moving through the incoherent
chunks of human being
at respite from their shared traverse,
she beholds her face in a mirror perched
in one hand, and with the rigid middle finger of the other
Fuck me, fuck you, fuck everyone
dabs beigy paint
to veil black and blue to ashen,
and stomps past the beings,
mortal and immortal,
hollering Mornin’ ya’ll.
Her days are numbered.
The ghosts know, but don’t care