A million gnats and tiny moths dance silently in the spider webs outside my window. The front door is open with the screen door latched. It’s a late spring night, all damp and cool, without a breath of wind. Suddenly coyotes yip and howl up by the mailbox 50 yards away. Dogs bark in response, a canine pandemonium. The coyotes move away, the barking tapers off. Last to quit is the little yappy-dog at the trailer on the hill. Stillness once again. Nothing but the unheard sound of questions in my midnight heart and trying not to eat again.
And now it’s Father’s Day. Terrific.
Maybe he can rise up from the dead, assemble all his parts from ash in four locations, and decide to do it right. But now I’m older than he ever was, content with what I see in the mirror after a shave. He used to use electric razors, always buzzing, buzzing in the bathroom, stinky hot burnt oily smell, and then the Aqua Velva. (Afterwards a half-smoked Camel floating in the bowl.) I know all this because who ever had a second bathroom? And the children had to wait. Aftershave, hot oil, cigarettes, and shit. Someone should put that in a spray can, sell the scent, and call it “Daddy Doom.” It’s stopped me in my tracks for forty years.
But now another dream of treasure hidden in a cave. A dark-skinned muse pretends to hold a pencil in her hand. The wind out on the mesa blows. Dusty blocks of gold slide into place like monster stones at Machu Picchu, so tightly stacked there isn’t room to stick a knife. I use a razor when I shave, three blades and lubricant that smells like fruit or herbs or flowers. I tell my wife I love her and I mean it. I can’t believe how old I am, it feels like seventeen without the sex.
This evening I’ll go hiking by the gorge. The stars will not be out yet but the shadows will be long. The animal body’s knees are firm and tough. I’m proud of how its feet step off the rocks, the way it holds its spine erect to breathe and look and listen. A tall coyote on the prowl, but nothing barks. (I eat yappy-dogs for breakfast now if I can get the slices in a toaster.) No one tells me what to do, as if I’d listen anyway. The more I walk, the clearer the connection.
God comes down and checks the plans. There’s no one in the parking lot. The old truck starts right up and runs like crippled thunder, wheels akimbo in a wicked wander, mostly in-between the lines.