Poetry: Testament —Greg Purcell


 Last year I saw everybody
lined in rows to succeed.
This year they failed.

 Last year the engines
looked like the engines
of two years ago.

 This year the engines
have chromium hands
that grasp for soft stuff
like human hands, threads of gut,
warmer than chrome.

 Last year the dying girl
the dying girl
descended into her body
and watched us
move into this year she saw
us move into this year
with our looped programs
of generosity our cars
burning gasoline
as we wait for our wives
outside of the Monday stores
and outside of the
Wednesday laundry day
the day we thought
we’d ascend into
the liquor store the
hobby shops
this Thursday.

 This year we stood
them up and last year
we stood them up
the same way.

Last year a miracle of thinking
about other things
a woman who walked around
thinking nothing
but half the birds are here
compared to the year

 This year a mire of asking
for money, asking money
what money wants.

This year we went back to the old things
still fresh in a study
of wax paper, this face
lacquered in old floss
the old lace
the early lass

 from last year looking ahead
and white the sky
folded on the green acre
owned by somebody else.

Greg Purcell’s book, The Fundaments, is out now from Poor Claudia. His chapbooks include The New Music (The Agriculture Reader) and More Fresh Air (Industrial Lunch, in collaboration with David Pritchard). He is a founding member of the Connecticut River Valley Poet’s Theater.


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