? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 12

Poetry

Francesca Brenner

We Drive Toward the Fire


We drive toward the fire
chugging Coors
my beard flecked with drought-dust
sweat drying salt-crust
by your exposed bra
brotherly love rockin’ from 90.5 FM
like blowback through our open windows

Toward the crack in the windshield
you point, green nails
chewed to the pink,
the yellow film of smoke-fire
spreading over the empty sky
blood seeping over the eye of the sun

You state the central valley
was once an ocean
that if we had to we could ditch the car
and last a week without water
staunch and prophetic, like you graduated
middle school

I flick my eyes off the road
the sun’s forecast miraging
the watering hole we never reach
your black enamel hair
snapping like a salute
like Shit, officer, I was not speeding
while she was giving me head

Once, tired of hearing the
fan belt of your last word
I used my knife
just below your clavicle
to convince you of my point
it sealed in a glossy lump of skin
you tattooed around it
the scar a shooting star
night with lightning and driving rain
called it your wedding announcement

When I don’t hate you I love you
shackle myself to that blue vein
in your neck. God’s country
a swampy sea I lick and
want over and over again

This is how we’ve made it
without killing each other
like a rigor mortis joke
like the ten dollars we
buried with our partner
six feet under
out in the middle of Desert Hell
a hundred miles back
the rest of his share soon
our waterfront property
stretched out on the horizon
of Crescent City