Lucille Gang Shulklapper
Moments of truth come to him the way an avalanche breaks loose,
or the crack of a glacier, when it calves, and disappears,
like the stroke of the blade that slits the throat of the hog before it falls into the vat
of boiling water.
He and the hog are one, dangling by legs roped onto the iron wheel, squealing,
shrieking in frenzy, swung aloft,
he and the hog in the slaughterhouse of the world.
He slugs whiskey, one shot after another, staggers into nightfall.
From his bloodshot eye, he sees: Visit the Grand Canyon, a bumper sticker
on a bus passing the shanties and factories of Ladingtown,
belching diesel fumes into his lungs.
Something combustible lingers in his throat, an acrid taste of cigarettes,
whiskey and oil.
The bus moves on, but the swirling river, the chasm, remain hypnotic, and
—why not?—an abyss to fall into, and then, the river, a cleansing.
Now he sits on the ambered edge of the great gorge, the northernmost rim,
Itís too dark, heís alone, and the sunís falling, pulling him down.
An animal cries out as though itís being eaten, but itís coming from him.
Donít, she says. He breathes her next to him, doesnít turn his head, feels her arm
In back country, in her cabin, sheltered by rock, he buries his head in her milked-dry
breasts and bathes her in still-damp places;
her body is the river where they float on currents beneath them.
fiction poetry "fact" photography