You’re sitting on that musty couch
in a rental cabin named Tom Thumb
(which is what you call the landlord
who also owns the Dairy Queen
in Rhody, Oregon, west of Mt. Hood
during a winter so wet that mold grows
on your bowling ball) watching
The Day the Earth Stood Still
with Michael Rennie as the alien
prince of peace, and you drink
your rum and eggnog and more rum
and, ironically, the earth does not
stand still as you get up to piss.
Soon you’re boarding the second-shift
employee bus and your backgammon
skill and luck are undiminished,
even intensified by reckless courage
and profound disinterest in outcomes.
You take up your post at the ski lift
and touch up the ramp and kicker
as gloom seeps from the valleys and
climbs the ridge to the edge of night.
A can of chew glitters silver light
like a star in the palm of a small god.
Uphill riders equidistant three by three
like ships come sailing into the fog-
bound future when all the souls on Earth
shall sing. It’s back down the hill
from snow to rain as you roll six-one
and make your bar point, blocking
like the play was never in doubt.
You step off the bus as plans are made
and black-and-white scenes flash
between oncoming cars and you say
starward, “the decision rests with you.”
You trundle home alone, too far gone
into hard rain and wood smoke, adrift,
as somewhere beneath your feet,
plates are slipping into the sea.