Ander Monson edits Diagram <http://thediagram.com> and the New Michigan Press. These poems are from Vacationland, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Also forthcoming is Other Electricities, a novel-in-stories, from Sarabande Books.
It’s like Jesse was never here at all, he’s been so long
gone, like a gunshot that leaves no print—
no motive, modus operandi, no finger-trace behind, no black.
So many through the crust via snowmobile
or car, and you behind, hulking like a buoy,
unwilling like a battery, left out in all
kinds of weather. The neon sign on the Vacationland
motel is like an epitaph through snow:
“NO VACA” is all it says tonight, its molecules
stirred up, bright like an orange rind
would be if those things burned or could be lit
or strung up like lines of K-Mart lights
and left to dangle after the holidays
and all the tourists have come and gone and gone.
All the town has come and come and gone
to and from the funeral home which, like a holiday,
is rife with lights
(is it so important that the dead be this well-lit?)
and potluck gifts for both the teary and the stoic. The gravy’s rind
is setting as we speak, like how ice resets itself, its molecules
dancing (like in Fantasia) back to whole. The snow
comes down like grace, and we forget. This is no vacationland
for me and mine. Pick any family out of all
the phone book Finnish names: that blood has lost a boy
or father to the weather, on foot or on a snowmobile.
This night’s snow, your brand-new grave. Your ash is black
against it until shoveler or storm. Your name imprinted
on or in it, only for so long.