Poem Ending at the Golden Hour

turns out the flood was more prophecy
than myth
the time stamps tampered with
a message stuffed in an empty set to sea

with crates of Nikes
nestled like lovers in their crypts
I comb the shore for wreckage a white
whale flounders in the bile-yellow surf my task

to weigh these damned dive-bombing gulls
against The Raft of the Medusa
a wasp nest glued in the eaves against Aretha
taking over that Blues

Brothers scene once a woman wrote down her every thought
her bathrobe pockets filled with stones once an artist
made a cloud hang in rooms like sorrow
now the billionaires are bugging out their super yachts

gleam in the filtered dawn
stuffed with ammo and cabernet
and frozen meat I pay
for my sins in wheezing breaths protestors line

the street outside the clinic we walk
to school a new routine the low sun
washes off the glass of the cancer wing
the pale steeple of the Catholic

church white crosses mar
the lawn Ella hums Beyoncé’s
latest the concrete glistens from last night’s rain
black and silver cars

pour down the hill Henry stumbles on a curb his arms fly
out in a zealot’s dance
he knows this light was made to shine
on our demise

and even in the bleak Midwest
the ocean swells the boatman counts his fares
the kids pass through the concrete arch and double doors
ID cards strung around their necks

Mark Neely is the author of Beasts of the Hill and Dirty Bomb, both from Oberlin College Press. His third book, Ticker, won the Idaho Prize for Poetry and was shortlisted for an Indiana Authors Award. He is a professor of English at Ball State University and a senior editor at River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. 

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