Dogwood Blackout

In a tan Pontiac with bench seats and bent grill
hightailing it over Judaculla near Sylva,
he realized she had killed this chalky feller
at a cookout, Butch not even feral tipsy,
his cheeks as soft as melon. From Robbinsville
they’d commandeered a supremacy camera
with grub-white dragon breathers, no wranglers
far back in the hill tides to radio the law.
Hunters in hoods had circled a black lamb
beneath a chiseled rock, head butting
as in ram play, jolly then bloody.
At the Johnny Reb Motel Butch studied
a flaming pentacle wreath in video,
relived a spackled-nose night in camos
before sheriffs whirled the motel parking lot,
their .223’s cocked. Tore down, just trying
to get home this scruples-bereft girl riding shotgun,
on a snowy escapade toward happy chips,
happy rootlets, happy booklets, never staging
the final alphabet, Butch fizzled. Curling his palm
around her scalp sharp with scars, zippy curls
threaded his fingers like pasta. The clean wonder
of a model on a dais, kohl dust honing her eyes,
Dimnah insisted she bring her sewing machine
to stitch a brocade of fever, phoneme tongues
on a crazy quilt. For to carry, darlin’. It was all
the cover he had on him as the cuffs locked.
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