They Kissed Their Homes

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Blue Hour Press 1709 8th st tuscaloosa, al 35401 Copyright Š 2009 Christopher Cheney All rights reserved. Photography by Estelle Srivijittakar. Design by Justin Runge.

ac k n ow l e d g e m e n t s DIAGRAM: They Kissed Their Homes, They Slapped Their Faces Noö Journal: They Tucked Their Heads, They’re Flattening Their Hands

They slapped their faces and sat on the edge of bathtubs and ran a comb down their forearms and felt happiness creep into their pockets and found their dogs wrapped up in blankets and the clouds were big and yellow and firm and in the road there is a man hitchhiking and there are so many lovers in the supermarkets and there are those who have bad sex and there is you who is probably getting ready for brunch and there are those who don’t know yet of the dead and they yank their hands from scalding water and wait.

They tucked their heads in between the arms of another life and they yawned into their sleeves and stacked boxes of light bulbs to make room for their friends and salt trucks cut them off and drifted from flowered medians and their children clipped on earrings and preened their sideburns and their odometers shit out and in winter they wore skullcaps and denim and they wrestled electric blankets from loved ones and there are big women that drink tea and search the tablecloth for their glasses and a cloud flashes on their strapless bodices and someone pulls their hair back.

They kissed their homes and they kissed people who had been sleeping for hours and they kissed the lid of a friend’s coffin and they made their mothers cry of happiness and they drank coffee in the early dark and they heard hooting in the trees and they warmed their hands inside their wadded shirts and they smelt beer in the air and they motioned to the sky and they spilt on their pants and they thought about sex and they backed up their pickups and they heaved firewood over the lip and it shook their flatbeds and jerked and they were asleep and women kissed them and dead animals kissed them and animals kicked them and they were asleep.

They lifted their heads as if they had nosebleeds and they found leak spots in their ceilings and they were singing and they could see through someone’s clothes and they were lifting something heavy and they were visiting with their parents and they were dancing and they were close by the shoulder of a highway and they saw a lake house through their windshields and there are car fresheners and there are inspection stickers and there are emergency blinkers and there is a baby seat.

They’re flattening their hands on their inner thighs and their condoms bare the tint of traffic lights and their haunted faces and their crooked teeth and their friends heave and there is no breath on their cheeks and their dogs tunnel and sniff the night blankly aroused and there is no breath like the breath of an animal feeding and their clothes snag on chain link fences and they’ve pushed its ribs in and they’ve kicked it over and it recoils like drying pocket money and a heart beats in their lungs and they pull out of their bodies and shake them which is their boredom.

In their clothes they went to sleep and they’re in the sunny part of the driveway and they fumble with their keys and scrape drool from under their lips and they inspect their teeth in their truck paint and they wake up from their own snoring and try to get back to sleep but their bed is too warm and there is always a radio alarm going and a woman is radiant from her morning walk and there is a cawing in her lawn and they back out on the street with their air conditioners running and they honk at a homeless man and he returns to his spot under the awning.

Their friends search for their dogs before they leave a stack of firewood in the garage which they have an emergency for they dream of wind in their brain and go through their belongings make believe surgeries they do with their clothes on suddenly they open their stomach or see the wind in their neighbor’s yard.

They adjust its gauge for the shortened nights and their children dress like old men to pretend they’ve injured their backs and don’t remember how to raise themselves from the woodchips or have any fun at all in the climbing frame gloom of one in the afternoon there is the whitest sneaker on asphalt and there is lines and lines of potato chip dust near their mouth and their dogs shake their necks to break a neck in their mouth and they’re somewhat alive the prey jerked across the field.

They have been called into the yard by some woman and they said there was nothing they could do and they picked up their friends from an airport and they held a cricket between their palms and their children held stones and followed their mothers into a grocery store and they held women by their waists and gave them money and they cradled someone and they held the doors behind them and they held animals still and they were injured.

They cooked a shoulder of pork and they ate it slowly and their hands are warming under a faucet and somewhere a fire truck pumps water from a lake and its light enters the room they’re in and they dry off on a woman’s t-shirt that was folded neatly.

By the condemned mall they sell Christmas trees and where they clean their hands in puddles of thawed snow and while they beat their gloves in customers’ headlights and when they run their hands through branches and how when they wash dishes they break the handles off tea cups and how their daughters sleep naked with football jerseys and how the electricity goes off and comes back on and when they found a seeing eye dog by their trash cans and when they first decided to get married and how it was drizzling and how they lean trees against a plywood shed and how their friends lift road kill over a median and how the smell drags into the forest and stays on their clothes.

They took their drinks into another room and they forgot them there and they held together flowers and their paisleyed bandannas and their mothers were having coughing fits and they parted their curtains and they offered them a place to sit and there are people who are born with an excess amount of shame and there are people who are good at many things and they are those who have started a bonfire and you are holding them from behind

Beside them the feeling of another body they awoke to another cool morning they spent clearing the driveway.

They take showers at night and they blast some good tunes and they are feeling good about themselves and they run errands to all night convenience stores and they have sunburns on their faces and their hands are freezing and right now you are feasting on hamburgers and beer and you are eyeing a bald waiter and there is glass on the patio and there are people that get tattoos of birds and some of them have them removed.

Years later their clothes drying on other clotheslines or worn by other people Through their lives and their grape leaves shaking in the garden.

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