Blue Rubber Gloves

 

It’s getting colder. I’m thinking of my thin jacket,
its worn layers. Warmth is fleeting like foggy breath.
My path is an old dog’s spine, barely glowing
as it wrings out the day’s sun. I can see
it best when I look away. I see it best when
I stop looking for it.

I got these gloves for a job in Alaska. Had them now
ten, maybe fifteen years. Blue rubber palms that
stick to everything they touch. I can pick up
pennies by pressing down on them with my index.
Count to see how long before they drop.
Three seconds, four max.

Once on the Homer docks I got drunk with a kid straight
out of high school. We’d been unloading fish boats
for sixteen hours. The foreman came into the bar, asked
us to help him move a ship’s mast being used
to mark a parking lot. We screamed at the dark Spit
while hauling the heavy wooden pole to the yard.

One end on the tip of his fork, one end on the tip of mine.

He paid us with beers. The last one made me puke
off the rail onto the cobble beach. Where the kid told me
that when he gets back home he’s taking a job in a women’s clothing store. Said he’d help them pick out something pretty. Probably
get laid a lot. He said there’s something about
the lower-forty eight that makes him horny.

Ahead I see yellow lights. My place. Just two nights in and
I’m already spooked by the sounds of the forest. Wind
pulling trees over, whispering in their ears, making things
pop and creak. Making me wonder what happened
to the wolf chained up at the corner house. Big as a
fucking horse. Howled every night at the moon.

Haunted songs scare away ghosts.

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