In Pelican, they say the dump, a mile outside of town, is the only place with cell service.
And so he clomps off the boat
and off the float, up the ramp,
away from town, hot showers,
a fresh bag of flour, and stamps
for stacks of love notes he wrote
on watch ignoring the whales.
He turns left at the King hung
from a ladder’s rung, gills veiled
with blood, and puddled guts saved
for the dogs baying under
the boardwalk. Quick sounds of town
give out to the woods and dump.
There’s no silence. It’s all breeze,
spruce trees whiskering his ears,
and eldritch calls—ravens
scavenging bones and beer cans.
Today’s the day he finally
gets to call his one sweetheart.
All that time fishing, nothing
but Skipper’s grunts cut the hard
face of solitude. Ten days
waiting for invisible
waves to carry his tin voice
across vast land, across dull,
plain houses huddled in clumps,
and into cold plastic pressed
to the precious ear his tongue
loves to enter, caressing
calyx-whorls of cartilage
and tender folds of pink flesh,
and so all day at the dump
he dials and dials his best half,
fingers moving like pretty
please, like knock on wood, like long
prayers, like rain dancers bright
in his loneliness who stomp
for a connection that comes
on just the right wind above
the tattered trash. It does what
it can to keep them in love.
“Town Day” was originally published in Gulf Coast.