Joseph Briggs is a poet and photographer who has lived in Madison for eight years. His photography has been included in gallery shows at the Overture Center, and his poetry has appeared in numerous Wisconsin-based journals as well as in publications based out of the UK. His first chapbook, “Paper & Bone” is scheduled to be published in 2015.
A Sunday Afternoon
It is July, noon.
All is blue, hot.
It is noon & he’s drunk so we drive home without him in the heat & now he must walk
home in it, curse us in it, or sleep in it as only a baby could, would.
We reach the T-stop just north of home, the intersection that ends all going forward & we
see a buck in the waist-high corn at noon.
We know it’s a buck due to its velvet nubs.
We know what this means.
We have no clue what this means.
He is frozen like a leaf thirsty for wind; an animal frozen like he’s been waiting for us his whole life.
In the blue & green it’s noon & the drunks are drunk and the nocturnal are in fields stone still waiting for the T-stop to become a cross,
waiting for the road to keep going so it can shadow us forever in the next hot green field.
Around here they’re not far from any country road,
these barns & farm homes occupied by yellowing hosts
close as kin with the moon.
Backdoors have broken off their hinges & storm windows,
blown outward by snaking winds, leave shards of glass
to sink into the earth.
Soon it will all be digested by penetrating rain,
a slew of insects, that sepia rust running along gutters
once cleaned monthly.
Again, what can a poor soul do against time’s swift hand?
Sundays, for thirty some winters now, he double socks arthritic feet
& wedges them into his worn in (although his wife would’ve said worn out) work boots.
Then toast, eggs & burnt coffee to go is all he has time for since the front door started
with him the instant he struggled out of bed.
No dog today, not on Sunday.
He steps on frosted marsh grass, over hollow oaks.
His deer stand is equipped with, thanks to the son-in-law, satellite dish and a lazy boy.
More duct tape then leather at this point, but still a home for his tired bones.
Still musty even with the chill so he cracks the window.
The Packers are about to score. Nope. Turnover.
The rough cut window gives a jagged view of the sun being skewered by white pines.
He turns away from this, from the thought of walking so far to something that has
no business promising to be there when he arrives.