When to Thank Oil (a Conditional)
If in maple we better understand age, the rings between sweet & thick, that circus of curious resting on the wood of a bird’s nose, let’s drown ourselves now. The amount of northern Montana melting in our bones cannot be siphoned. Tundra grows off the mountains in our backs, deciduous and drawling. Soon the days will drip into hours. We’ll breathe fire without torch, gasoline crawling along any braid of air. We must go back. If in rust we become those junkyard kids dipping hangers into coals and marking each others’ shoulders, let’s bovine without twitching. Glow like embers hissing through one ear of the night never to return. Let’s tempt loss with how much we’re willing to unload. When we are older the caves will fill with bears who never wake up. We’ll chew on rifles like toothpicks and wait for the moon to close its only eye, wait for good to go to sleep. The stars break out in hysteria, neon knees bleeding on sky carpet. No one hears their choke. We shove gag towels in their mouths, slow gunpowder down their hourglass throats. When we are older is now.
by Philip Schaefer
Philip Schaefer is the author of three chapbooks. [Hideous] Miraculous is available from BOAAT Press, while Radio Silence (forthcoming 2016 from Black Lawrence Press) and Smokes Tones (available from Phantom Books) were co-written with poet Jeff Whitney. Individual work is out or due out in Thrush, Guernica, The Cincinnati Review, Birdfeast, Forklift Ohio, DIAGRAM, Sonora Review, H_NGM_N, and Hayden’s Ferry among others. He tends bar at a craft distillery in Missoula, where he received his MFA from the University of Montana.