Clive Matson
Calliope Mind

Across town in a borrowed
auto, clasping a corroded
radiator in a blue rag
and carrying my ailing
toddler on my shoulders.

104 degrees the last p.m.

He pulls his face into a
wrinkled mask and squeezes
tears out the corners.

"I'm doing better than he is,"

proclaims the expert who
scratches radiator lacework
with a ball point. Ruined copper
flakes off in stringy batches.

How to pay for it.

This: no squeakless sight of reality.

Unless it's on the way home
ginkgo leaves blur green
overhead. Asphalt expands gray-
black toward whispering tires.

When I touch this bomb's
accelerator 2 1/2 tons
of metal leap up the avenue

trailing rubber marks, oil
droplets, mists of decaying vinyl,
yards of 30-some half-combusted
hydrocarbons and what else?

How to pay for it.

This moment different
from 40, 400, 4,000 years ago.
But not much.

My mind spins like a calliope.
Behind soothing pictures
waste accumulates, dog
carcasses in piles with hair
pulling out from pus-y flesh.

How to pay for it.

The soothing pictures:

1) A basketball spinning high
  off the backboard and swish.

2) Crystals glinting black through
  surface crud of a six-inch slab.

3) The straight line out my wife's
  strong shoulders and down.

4) The little boy well again,
  clapping hands for my song:

"To market, to market, to buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again, jiggedy-jig."

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