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The Vial Often Breaks

by Ian Bickford

Late—the music hissing while it burned—
         then Zap! we heard a Zap!
& it was ash-heaps behind the hills in the big but empty state.
                  I let the leftward alignment have its way—

a.m. retraction of the normal pacts of traffic—
         into the wrong lane, into the wheat.
Sing! This is what I'm always talking about!
                  The wheat-stalks folded for the truck.

In a minute the truck stopped & rolled a little back.
         Annie slept across the seat. I wanted to tinkle in the wheat.
At the slam of the door & the shake of the truck she woke,
                  got out & walked w/ me.

I felt cured, you know? Relief, smell of the wheat,
         hearing Annie tinkle too a few steps off—
I mean, what map-maker dreamed this cross-hatched way?
                  Annie slept in the cab a little more.

There was a diagram in the sunrise—believe me, I was ready for it.
         I wet my finger & traced a big double-x on the air.
We exploded every single idea.
                  There was a skill in the act of relinquishing.

I crawled in & opened Annie's dress & sang against her little neck
         & the f.m. tweetered back to life—I swear!
it was the same song I was singing!
                  It was great she got to wake to that accident.


Ian Bickford lives in Brooklyn. (2/2004)

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