Skip Tracer

Here I am dropping in, arriving cold

I waste my wakefulness in the garden

I thought, joy—here maybe just a bit

Doing nothing but watching the ants

Their endless mazes of particulates

The certain in-and-out of the structures

Distilled by morning, into the house

A goading power in the north breeze

Tossing around in there all night then

A shuffling of leaves and of months

A crystal of sand under my left eyelid

I am the friend who drops in on myself

A mindlessness behind this sleeplessness

Leaves the garbage can overturned

Lets the dogs at the chicken bones

Pigeons scooting across the shingles

Still flying the town in family groups

Young of the year, before open season

I like best the decisions made for me

 

 

Algae Bloom

I made ends meet as a skip tracer

They paid me in personalized insults

He was gone like water over a falls

From what I knew he was my father

Buying flowers at a market in the rain

I wondered what the deer at night

Thought of their dead hanging out back

Snapping the ends of a thousand beans

Did they think to approach, to smell

Did they know previously, then recognize

A simmering halo at the shed’s edge

The baby rabbit is much too slow

He twists himself in too many ways

So many semblances of the originative I

Satanic beetles on the milkweed pods

One truck forcing another off the road

I spent the day eating only peppers, asking

What’s going on behind these bones

And where did all of my blood just go

 

 

High Heaven

The broken ladder to a loose window

To an overhang in the criminal rain

A few things even the locals don’t know

Boreal phantoms lungless in the canopy

And later an impulse under the bridge

I was standoffish and then just reticent

I was the first few thick drops as they fell

A laze disregarding the yard for decades

Wearing last season’s candidate’s shirt

The day plain, sidereal, or so it seemed

A fleeing down the otherwise empty road

The idea of country only as a remove

Or even worse, a kind of fortified solace

Lost on those who actually live there

Ex-hornets floating in the sugar water

I get a little nauseous from the cicadas

Pipe-reek, weeks of resin under his nails

Trailing like a cellar dragged up and out

Into the dusk’s long puddles of light


F. Daniel Rzicznek is the author of two poetry collections, Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press, 2009) and Neck of the World (Utah State University Press, 2007), as well as four chapbooks, most recently Live Feeds (Epiphany Editions, 2015). He is coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in West Branch, Colorado Review, 32 Poems, TYPO, Notre Dame Review, The Greensboro Review and elsewhere. Rzicznek teaches writing at Bowling Green State University.