Mark Neely


Something about driving and we are
leveling Ohio hills, a safe distance
from the simmering sky.

Something about a quick drink
and our barstools swivel inward,
folding us together like a predator's wings.

Something about the city that makes us sparkle
through its glassy corridors,
looking for a story to fill a day.

Something in the water (or the gin)
to explain our beached blueprints,
our washed-out afternoons.

Something in the river that looks like us,
two alligators floating side-by-side.
No, turns out I'm just a log.

Something of the circus trainer in both of us,
not afraid to use the whip, something
of the lion, too tame to fight it out.

Something about changing where
to why, faster than a coffee cools,
then on to who, as quietly as hands.

Something about an exit and we're off,
out into the true temperature,
field fumes, the truer air.



I thought of this poem as a history because it is a series of half-remembered events, and possibly a nightmare from which its characters are trying to awake.