The creek-bed is littered with salt
and silt and chicken wire.
At one time, the cattle could stand
on their own. The fencing rust-eaten
but still thick with heat.
You stayed with the children
until they fell asleep. I tried
to explain how the carpet caught fire
in the Polaroid you found
and where I got that necklace.
Red ants collapsed a black bird
on the front porch. We watched
each other undress, but took
separate showers. The dirt dried
to your ankles and arms
was your dirt. The idea to separate
was mine. Hunger makes the house
civil. Set the table. Wartime,
again. We saved the cooking fat
in a coffee tin so the soldiers
could use it for glycerin.
Out back, our single colt continues
to throw itself against its stall.
Thunderheads in the distant
ridge. In the hills, the holler farms.
Us still in bed, unable to ask
for more time and maybe.
Eric Anderson‘s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in American Letters & Commentary, Black Warrior Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Journal and elsewhere. He lives in Iowa City where he is studying and teaching creative writing at The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.