I’ll tell this story to myself all night,
the legend of your attempt to row across the grey,
sainted river to Michigan, past the pulp mill
and the refinery churning out their insistent plums.
The wild orchestra of your body, the water,
the tow oars flapping.
From this shore, which is now a parking lot,
it doesn’t seem like a ridiculous prospect
America in yelling distance,
the appeal of double-wides and young, manicured trees.
You started rowing somewhere in the season
where you razed your healthy teeth
for dentures, just to make order.
No money, never money,
but cigarettes and other people’s habits.
I think I know how it is,
rage like old neon,
a near-broken circuit that seizes
into connection occasionally, shimmering out.