Volume 26, Number 2

Camping Poem

The cold of morning shoots through empty spaces between mountains,
          wakes us from soggy sleep,
that wet, limp, itchy delirium that flattens us in our bags between the days,
crouched in the expanses between the cities
under wind-blown, cloud-scraped skies.
          We drive, open-mouthed.
We stagger, swatting bugs, through buzzing bogs.

Sound the alarm in Amplitude Modulation.
Cement towers and mountain ridges ricochet
tall tales of lived lives, confessions coast to coast,
and phone calls from truckers half-asleep
bouncing in their big rigs, burning down the highways of the nation.

In the sticks we hide in our tents from the cars,
breaking twigs to kindle a fire,
rubbing two sticks together,
smoldering beneath the dark rain on yellow leaves.
Gather round the campfire. Gather round the radio.
Tell me stories. Teach me myths.
Poison earth, poison ivy. Tell me what poison looks like.
Show me the sunrise.
Show me the difference between monoxide-orange and ion-blue sky.
We must explain these things in words.
          Blow the smoke from your gun.

—Frank Fucile