Eric Amling
Morning Advances

Now that I’m alone I’m caught thinking
of a ship called the Dead Metaphor far out at sea
secretly navigated by a hypnotic spiral in the sequin sky.

Somebody with a boy’s name is uncomfortable with the distance
of a grocery divider at the supermarket and someone
with a similar girl’s name is enrolled in a boarding school

in Idaho, but we are doing okay nonetheless. We aren’t
assigned to giving a hundred descriptions of cattails by the pond
and there isn’t a labyrinth of complicated outlooks on what’s outside
so we are okay as the morning slowly reaches an average p.m.

And I’m sure I’m not far off from the future me, so I thought
back to my elementary days when I’d cup houseflies in my hands,
leading my parents to believe I was again praying in the yard.

Even to now I suspect a day is never fully sure what to do with itself,
that is why people drive with dream-catchers in their Pontiac
or feel the pressure of outcomes when wandering in a cave, even
how I once felt jinxed when I tested a pen in a hotel Bible.

Although I’m glad some feelings will never become congratulations,
to turn around and see we’ve kicked ourselves in the ass
looking beyond our needs, or argue over the invisible summer heat,
I know anyone would shed a tear at Amazing Grace on the bagpipes.

And until all the scratch tickets are a final figured equation
and I fully understand the message in the Miranda laws
I’ll sit on the porch and listen to birds tuned to whatever we
were humming before, held in one bona fide image:

The old cobble bridge reflection like a pig’s snout over the river
and a silent truck on a distant hill the color of a blood sucker.
A moving dress of land, and by a small crowd that has gathered
on the nearby road, two caskets in runners stance.

One tips toward the other and says, I bet I’ll beat you at this,
I bet I’m dead before you.
There is an opportunity for silence here, so a cloud moves an inch.
The other fixes his sweatband, listens for a sound.
You’re on, he says.