Volunteer Fireman's Night

It is hard to sleep, sometimes.
I remember the stale taste
Of the drowned man’s mouth
In the dark water
Beneath the Juva Bridge.
Sometimes I wake suddenly,
The vision of the pregnant wife’s
Eyes cold and fixed
On the last image of headlight
Coming across the center line.
In the smoke of cigarettes
I sometimes find the smell
Of the boy’s burnt thigh
I found
In a burned out farmhouse.

All of these, and others
In cars crushed by locomotives
I could not help, visit me
In darkness, give me blood clots
Larger than my hands.

:: William O. Boggs, Swimming in Clear Water (1989)

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