Nothing Hurts Until

by Adrian Blevins

you wake up concussed in Maine in the snow
without a Doberman Pinscher. & where
have all the cats gone & where the flock
of kids? & weren’t they more like
ghouls & specters & / or mostly just sad
& handicapped back when you lived with them
just barely by the cow pasture in the boil
& roast if it was summer & who cares if it
was not? Who cares if you could barely
feed them? Who cares if you wrote your way
to this first snowstorm of this next winter
or talked your way is more like it & gave your art
for blankets & heaters & scarves & mittens
& a fat Kielbasa sautéed in onions with
a little fat potato on the side in a big black pot
& also so the cats could die by being injected
& not get shot in the head in the hayfield
under the black eye of the death moon & so
the kids could put on their backpacks & fill them
with notebooks & credit cards to be used at will
in the Arts Depot on campus & with one photo of you
tucked in there too of you standing by something
like dishrags & fish. Who knows why, but you want
a rifle in the picture too, & you want it rusty & gaunt
& veteran. You want tainted. You want it mean.

The title and first half of the first line of this poem are a slight adaptation from Thomas Lux’s poem “Glass Eye,” from To the Left of Time.