You always dreamed of a death
in the open, stopping at the wye
in the highway that runs past
the shell of the old mill,
the land like a black lung
infiltrated by bronchial trees.
You’d keep your eyes pinched shut
against whatever brightness might spoil
the immaculate desolation.
After so many tiresome years
of living for others, this would be
your own time at last,
alone on the baked earth.
But it seems the Father won’t let you off
that easy, sends a pair of his goons
to bookend your shoulders
& breathe cabbage in your ears.
Meaty arms wrap around your chest
like pythons & begin to squeeze.
Let’s go for a ride, they whisper.
Death in the open — you’re finding out —
means all bets are off. The air turns
dangerous with blades.