The Oiler (poem)

     We are digging holes, we are burying dogs. Under this clear sky we may do anything that comes. The Oiler also sharpens blades. There is nothing better than a good blade. We look out on the highway and feel the draw. Workers are pouring new concrete to shore up the levee, it’s hard work. Somewhere you can see the stars if it’s clear. Now that will make you feel better.      Once a year we blow out candles and make a wish, usually to win the lottery, a short sited dream. And the real lottery has led us here to this very spot where we measure the land in blood. All the gods are dead. We watch football, and movies. We dig holes for our own. Under this clear sky we could do anything.

     The open road stretches out to the horizon and we make plans, gather up the children and share stories. We could go if we wanted but the alternator’s on the blink. There will be a sunset tonight, same as always. We watch it and think we could go anywhere.

     The Oiler measures his world by the acre, checks the blade, and returns to digging. There will never be enough hours. There will never be enough holes. We bury our own. There has never been true happiness, our trust has always been in holes.

     Violet clover has taken over the farmers’ fields. Giant irrigation pipes stand on the line like the carcass of some great animal. We lead a horse to water. From here you can reach right out and touch the mountain. Under this clear sky we could be anywhere.

     It matters little whether we stay or go.

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