Issue > Poetry
Edgar Kunz

Edgar Kunz

Edgar Kunz is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His work can be found in AGNI, New England Review, The Missouri Review, Narrative, Best New Poets and other places. He lives in Oakland, California.

When Charlie Pulls The Colorado Over


When Charlie pulls the Colorado over
and tells me to fuck off, says
I can ride the bed with the bales
or hitch back to Parkton with whoever
will stop but god help him he don't
give a damn if no one does, I pull
the latch and stumble down
onto the sun-scrubbed shoulder.
The passenger door hangs open
like a jaw, hinge locked up and squealing
in the Chesapeake wind that loosens
hay strands fistfuls at a time
from the twine-tied stacks,
scatters them into traffic.
I run my thumb along the mis-
matched quarter panel, thinking
about the woman I loved who called
that morning to say she's marrying
a fighter pilot, buying a place
outside Jerusalem, that she's learned
to say his ways are ways
of pleasantness
and she's chosen
to cover her hair and the freckled skin
of her arms—

                       halfway between

Hunt Valley and Hackensack,
the Econolodge sign pulsing
behind the curtain, the sounds
we make mixing with the branches
lashing the window, the rain, the big-rigs
on the interstate—the kind of love
that makes you forget, she says,
slipping from the sheets—

                                          and whatever
seized her then, whatever swept her
toward those distances, the Abrahamic plains,
a language she'd never spoken
but is learning, now, to speak,
is what lifts me, one foot on the bumper,
good arm levering my body into the bed.
What sets me down among the wind-

torn bales, pushes me upstate,
toward Monkton, Hereford, New Freedom,

the dropseed prairies, the run-off ponds

and feed corn fields. What asks me

to try and track one straw, to hold it

with my eyes for more than a second,

and fail, then choose another

and fail again, Charlie leaning on the horn

as they vault into the wind.

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