W B Keckler


All weekend eating tomatoes,
gouging to gore thick homegrown,
salting slices viciously as slugs,
even though they make me bleed
just a little, inside. I've been warned.
But it's old movies, tomatoes and beer.
You've taken to our room. Locked the door.
I go alone to the huge indoor flea market
Saturday mornings, seeking a stockpile.
White concrete spools of Three Mile Island
steam over the Susquehanna as I drive.
I relive 1979, how life just freeze-framed.
"Near-meltdown." Entire towns just left.
Men with microphones on empty Main Streets
blatted doomsday metaphors into cameras.
Blocks of lightless houses, radios left playing,
alarms clocks buzzing in empty bedrooms,
that doomsday beauty. It was medieval
but exciting to be somehow posthumously alive,
to pack a suitcase at the end of time.
You're angry at the drinking.
At the tomatoes.
No, you won't be out anytime soon.
You'll emerge past six, leave for work.
Oh lover, forgive me my overripeness.
All my dead I sleep with.
My terrible walk under the tsunami.
All my dead I sleep with
still churn and rise in that Hokusai wave
of drink you so despise.
There is really nothing else, but bad sermons.
And my sympathy stays with those
far below, who made all my bad choices
but weren't so lucky, or made
no choice at all, but weren't so lucky,
those bodies cold-boiled in sand,
souls in limbo, still floating gape-mouthed,

still walking through the force back to the island.