Matt Morris >

Anywhere Like Home



Anywhere Like Home

Other girls 
wear pastel sweaters, cable knit
stitching down the front, with tiny gold
scatter pins over their left
breasts, flatter than your diet soda,
& gold necklaces with five beads, & retro
navy circle skirts with argyle knee
socks & ugly saddle shoes. At the back 
     of the bus, the school twirler 
          twitters in her naughty twang, showing 
               off her little thing to slack-jawed 
                    jocks, the vestige 
         of her virginity teetering on her errant 
     baton when the bus bounces 
across railroad tracks that signify 
     home's straight ahead, sort of. Just 
          beyond rows of trees, rolling bottom lands stretch 
                    out to the river & the hills & the loneliness: Is that 
               a question? The old bus great 
          for chicken, McNeer gives it the gas 
     & grins, squealing 
around a sharp curve, swerving too 
     late to avoid a ditch. Something 
               or somebody flies out a window.
                    In the tall tangled weeds, the perky 
               majorette lies virtually 
          unnoticed, her long, thick, satiny
     hair blending with afternoon 
shadows. Normal days, anyway,
          this is your stop. 




The city burns. Steering my leaky boat
through the smoky swamp, rubbing
the ash & ember of civilization out
of my eyes as the alarm razzes, I row
out of bed, right into my well-
worn rut of shit, shower & shave. Slowly
the fogged mirror reveals a phony
lonely me sliding down life's dull
disposable razor, scraping off
the stubble of another

disturbed dream. Then it's
turn on the tube—where some fish-
lipped gun nut's shooting off
his bass-like mouth's opinion
that temporarily coincides
with my own, considering
the cornucopia of arms reasonably
priced & readily available to shut
the dumb fuck up—
& coffee. I'm finishing the pot

around noon when the doorbell
interrupts. A woman
with blood red hair pulled
into a long tight braid offers me
a tract that asks,
Are you saved? From what? I start
to shoo her. Global
warming? Terrorism? Tooth decay? Nightmarish
interest rates? My terrible, impossible
true blue balls? But I don't
say anything. The small

scar above her lip tells
the story of another woman, another
lifetime ago, who wrapped
her car around a tree, drunk
& suicidal, I guess, because of me.
However, praise Jesus, it's not
my crazy ex standing
on the stoop, wanting to
talk to me about god
knows what, but a sad, weary lady
holding out her hand, asking me if I believe
there's enough love.




Under the moon, a shoe box
of contraband tucked
under your arm, your echoed
steps crack spidery pavement,
ensnaring you in foggy flats
of a dour town propped
against a cheesy
mesh backdrop. A black
T-bird chirps around

the corner. You duck
into a pharmacy, flitting past
the aisle of rain
resistant, sun repellant, plastic
delphinium. The druggist, high
behind the counter,
winks & smiles. In his lithic, dilated
pupils, you see the nozzle

of the drive-by
shooter locked on you. Stalking
the racks of prophylactics, I
pounce, pinning you
to the dirty
linoleum, my beefy
bulk your only protection from the
.45 whizzing by. Your name—

doesn't matter or
I'm sure I'd remember it, not

the post-impressionistic outline of the dead
druggist, the spotty
blood from a shot errant
as my desire. Unruffled, you
tell me to get off.
I already have, I mutter
sheepishly, hands jammed
deep in my pants-
pockets fumbling for
the compulsory cigarette

after. You gather
the contents of your box spilling
like a confession signed
with a red, wet capital O your
lips make abruptly over mine.
Another shot ricochets
off the register. Even though
I ought to hold you
for the cops, I let you go. Thanks
for everything, you coo in a
convincingly throaty way, but I
sense there's something you won't
say still lurking
out there in the big