Tony Tost
"Men return from the dead"
New Poems From the USA
Men return from the dead / the mortgage is due / suddenly & it’s hard

Harder to sleep with the dripping of ether

Men return from the dead
Not more dead / more silent

What I fear is that I too young have already found
The four or five verbs that I will keep
When I am dead. Men return from the dead
Not more dead but more strange
Spitting (strangely) birds visible to humans / only

We are isolationists tonight & I am unsure why I am afraid
To call you woman. Why I put you under the bed to translate for me

Men return from the dead not more but
Spitting birds & not to the dead who read us / to us

We who say just enough to keep from rising

We whose dead children our women are praising

The impulse is for threading, weaving, making the blanket

The good thing. We whose tubs are full of pissing

Still glad we got out of Phoenix, the cul-de-sac
“the coldest little circle in Hell”

We whose tubs are full of we. Firecrackers
In the tub & now the tub is full of artless glories

Our glories now. I live for __(noun)__

I would die for _(noun)_ if its existence were ever threatened

Our water rising in the tub & drowning in the noise

The firecrackers. We spit / at our women
Who spit onto the children who are also in the tub

Our arms are just sitting there like the sun
For we are also all action / we who do not have to move our arms

About a mile down, as they say / it is wonderful

I live for Mexican food, etc.

Women are heavy, etc.

Nights cold enough for a thicker lover (thank you Paul)

Our women are heavy in our arms, their bellies engorged
Knots of children / wrapped like kites / around a fist or an eye

The _(noun)_ full of the once-dead. Their bellies en-gorged

Knots of children (already dead) unseen therefore human
Angry. These strings that lead an ordinary _(noun)_
Into ordinary light. Children wrapped & baptized, in string

A verb finds form not in their ether but here / in our real- / m, the once-was

A man of action (he who all day traveled
To find his father’s grave filled with string) follows a thread all morning

Leads him back home to his daughter’s mouth

If ever a string was also a fuse . . . Rolls her into the river

Wraps the string around his finger

When the girl returns from the dead the children
Throw blankets & bones. She paddles backwards / broken wing

The mother weaves a blanket from the children’s hair

The father all action. Rubs his thumbs, his eyes
Props the girl (all animal) onto the balcony wall / broken wing

Sets off a firecracker beneath her & then he jumps, with her
Off the balcony into his contemporary bag of skin

My current job : I stand near a long table
With a magnifying glass in my right hand, a latex glove on my left
& I look though you

Years & years for the sun to go down

The children are years & years

We compare their indifference to a machine
A machine is a poem / made of metal. A car races around the hospital

A dog is a poem / made of bones. The children
Each placed on a leash. Lovely, suffering years. Compare the rain
To a machine / made of scissors. To dig is to think

Years: “A machine which does not consider this leash
Will not continue to work”