Poetry by Dan Leach

Night Drive

Swing wide, Uncle Pendulum.
Carolina’s gone cold,
but Florida smiles up ahead
like a hospital at midnight.

Ride on, Sergeant Nobody.
Roll down your window
and collect in your cupped palm
all the black rushing air
between your rearview graveyards
and the river waiting for you,
whose birth name is Wacissa.

Collect the death wishes.
Collect the sex dreams.
Collect the visions of planes
falling out of the sky because
love refused to keep them afloat
for one more god-damned minute.

Uncle, your birth name is a word
people spit out of their mouth
like a plum gone rotten.
The bones in your hand are broken.
The light in your eyes: gone.
You don’t believe in anything,
but you believe in Florida.

A good river could get you right.

Don’t ask how long, O Lord.
The map says four hundred and nine miles,
but the map is like the red-haired woman
who runs the college where you work:
a bush on fire with bad facts,
a kindly shrub in middle of desert.

Ride on means ride on, etc., etc.

Your problem is you want the river,
but you don’t want the gators.
Your problem is you want death,
but you don’t want the dying.

Take mercy where you find it.

Mercy is knowing
you don’t make these drives alone.

Mercy is the genius in Tallahassee
with an island of wild horses
running high in his veins.

Mercy is the poet in Goose Creek
who tattooed his name
onto the arm of the apocalypse.

Mercy is the brother riding shotgun
whose dream is your dream
and whose voice is your voice.

Bad news, Uncle Pendulum:
the dark keeps getting darker
and the gators are closing in.
The good news:
if you don’t think about them,
they disappear like lukewarm poems,
and the river is yours forever.

Dan Leach

Twitter: @deadmediumdan

Up next The Weather Report with Juliette Sandoval 001 Poem: "Thank You For Trusting Us" by Salvatore Difalco
Latest posts "Manscape" by Jon Doughboy Three micros by Addison Zeller Artscape: A Look Back [Anything for a Weird Life] Sculpting Golems and Fog Machines Working Overtime: Interview with Anna Krivolapova, Author of Incurable Graphomania "I Knew You When You Aspired to the Biologic Imagination" by Juliette Sandoval "Two Micros: First Shift, Second Shift" by Jess Gallerie "imagine, if you will, that i am dissociating" by nat raum from "In Between Snow and Blossom" by Jacelyn Yap "as Sensationism" by evelyn bauer Men's Recovery Project, or The Pain of Being Pioneers [Anything for a Weird Life] Two poems by Rob Kempton "Lightning" by Jackson Rezen "Where I Fold in Half" by Erin Smith Three poems by Scout Faller "Shark Poem" by Lexie Mountain Two wrestling erasures by Josh Shepard Two poems by Aderet Fishbane What I Did on my Summer Vacation [Anything for a Weird Life] The Weather Report with Juliette Sandoval [#11] "window offerings" by Ceci Webb "Sweet Talk" by Ron Riekki Two poems by Owen Paul Edwards "How I Broke the Quiz" by by Daniel I. Clark "Errata" by Noah Rymer "Meanwhile the Romance of the Chemistry Fizzled Out" by Joshua Martin Three poems by Eve Young The Weather Report with Juliette Sandoval [#10] "Ham Salad" by KNOX The Weather Report with Juliette Sandoval #9 Three poems by Peter Gutierrez "A Eulogy for the Secretary of the Cleveland Chapter of the Violet Myers Fan Club's Cock" by Jon Doughboy