Marina Wilson


The Girls

the girls tip from the canoe like beer cans
pale skin in dark current
the men are drunk
this is the seventies

and nothing matters the way it used to
the men hitchhike naked along the road near the river
the girls wait behind the bushes
it is hot
the men are drunk
the sun slides along their red pock-marked bodies
this is the seventies and no one has hang-ups
the hippies who once lined up at protests
line up at gas stations
and wait to fill their tanks

the girls’ mothers are alone
the drunk men are their fathers

the girls fall from the canoe
stay afloat by kicking
green river in their eyes
mud bottom below

the girls’ hair like riverweed drifting
the girls small and white and burning
their fathers have no clothes
the boat flips
the beer-filled cooler the girls the clothes
everything overboard


A Man 

when a man does a thing
he shuts it up inside himself
he swallows it
a cactus
a hammer
a bright needle
he doesn’t expect anyone else
to eat his disaster
or witness him take the thing on
the way a dog wanders into the forest to die
he understands solitude
when a man does a thing he does it without ceremony
he does it and keeps walking

isn’t this what a man does
isn’t this the way a man does a thing
I mean if you are a man—then—isn’t it