Matt Henriksen – When Lights Go Out at the Wooden Ni

Matt Henriksen

When Lights Go Out at the Wooden Nipple

The woman asks “Are there any virtuous sailors in the room tonight?”
A man with a neon halo says no, smashes the halo on his scalp
With his cap.
                         “Off to sea wit ye, den.  Ar, ar,” she says.
He is gone.  The room, still as a cigar
That’s been out for hours.  Smells of dog.
The woman’s leg is broken: glass on stage,
Shattered in the shape of a necklace.
Lays her throat
On the beer-dew crystal rainbow, sings herself
To sleep, becoming red river.
                                                    A piano,
With nobody in it, plays.  A one-eared dog
Comes through the curtains, licks the woman’s thigh.
The dog smells like saltwater, speaks: Thus
Has spoken
.  The woman would get up,
Make herself a drink, but she’s forgotten
Who she was: That’s the nature and the nonsense
Of being blood.  She hopes the dog didn’t
Say that.  But she’s riding the tide.  She’s in it
For the dough: the bread of her body whitening.
The dog is just another way of saying
                                                                   “I’m sorry,
Didn’t know who he was speaking to,” or “God
Help us if we remember this when we’re dead.”

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