Early Release For Good Behavior

I come in cursing with the dawn,
marrow-slurping & only getting worse

at getting better. No salvation on the
radio & shifting full-bellied towards

the splintered midnight of the cause.
To read the future like a rat — “I will

be eaten by an owl before the starlight
fades” — is the sort of prophecy I can

get behind, gnashing cranberries in protest
& dribbling bitter down my chin. Skeleton

of a pelican, speckles yellow sickly. I miss
you like a landmine in a clearing in the fog.

But o! To never stop collapsing, to press
on through the wretched, holy swampland

between Baton Rouge and Lafayette. To
swelter in this sauna at the center of the light.

These ruptured rites of batteries. This thirst.
Line them with sawdust to leave in the rain.



Last night you helped
me through the parts
of the song where the
blood pooled too thick
& I could barely make
out the music, so thanks
for that. I sent out recon
balloons to map the old
kinds of darkness and
they came back unconvinced.
Sundays splintered into
shards on the kitchen tile
& I am always running late.
There is a humming beneath
the bleachers, in the rooms
where we close our eyes
& whisper what a good time
we’re having. I am led
towards truth in ways
less human than before,
in skin flaking off my
knuckles, the slow whorl
of winter, the spattered
chests of starlings like
cocaine spilled on asphalt.
The glossy blue promise
of the day curls whimpering
at the foot of the door &
I am desperately pretending
I’m not at home, shaking
like a leaf in a special machine
made for the shaking of leaves.
I keep my mouth shut out
& refuse to be evacuated.
You remind me that the
rent is due & I am an empire
in decline. I have doubled
down on loss in this place
where hours drip. I am
pulsing like a migraine in
the space between the lines.

Zachary Evans is an MFA candidate in poetry at Colorado State University. His work can be found in Cloud RodeoAlien Mouth,  PotluckSundog Lit, and elsewhere.