The I Wish It Would Rain But That Song’s Been Written Motel
Tremors is on TBS again; Kevin Bacon fights mutant worms. A rip in the drawn curtains shows the afternoon spending itself outside; sunshine through the trees, a warm breeze lifting all light things. Kevin Bacon orders the whole town to stay home, kill the generators, climb high, and keep still with zipped lips: they hunt, he reckons, by sound and motion. He’ll wait atop the water tower with plenty’a ammo. He’ll beat these freaks. No matter what, don’t move a muscle.
N67: Stella Maris
You came to be undone, historian of light, by your histories.
To pile cuts of turf and bricks of tea, ignite the cottage stoves.
To walk the coastal road whose edge refused to be fulfilled by any will.
As if something worshipful can be pronounced by rituals of loneliness
that do not end in solitude. Off-season guest of a seaside town,
the boarded-up arcades and beach gazebos peeling paint made an initiate of you.
The Let’s Have a Cigarette and Assess the Situation Extended Stay Motel
In order to assess the situation, a good wall is necessary for strategic leaning and contemplative exhales cast in smoke. Across the state highway, the strip mall sits for sale, its parking lot lamps empty umbrellas of spit and shine. In this dead of the country night, a passing trucker shifts gears to meet a hill where the pavement looks to end, and the outline of his hat rim, its rope trim as he drives by, is too much a detail of a separate consciousness. Out of the soft turnpike din, an exotic bird squawks as though being mercilessly mated or killed in the stand of skinny trees by the closed Kum N’ Go, but it could be a trap, a maniac with a recorder, a brigand baiting the curious. Neither 24-hour drive-thrus will serve pedestrians. Very few walls are no good for leaning on.
-- Katie Hartsock grew up around Youngstown, Ohio, and earned a MFA from the University of Michigan, where she received the major Hopwood award in poetry. She currently lives in Chicago and is a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University in the program for Comparative Literary Studies.