There is so much of this planet I want to explore but will never have the time, which I can never seem even to find monthly or so when I decide the collected debris surrounding my bed must be removed, replaced, and vacuumed under. This is a chore best completed with Elvis, his baritone swing providing the necessary distraction from knowing how far from this room I could be if there was only the way, always the map, the money, the hours. Today I pulled off the heating vents’ grates, to rid them of their dust, their pennies, their green paperclips, and resting just at the curve downward lay a flat golden buck, one antler pierced for the chain making the necklace the previous tenant must have worn to buy her mint tea from the market close by. He is beautiful, punctured for detail at his eyes, ears, and back’s spotted fur. I placed him on the desk my grandfather built from the bones of a barn, next to the vanilla candle, and now, hours later, I spin him, dangling in front of the flame. I wonder if dousing him in wax would clean the dirt from his shine, and also what landscapes his likeness had seen.
Doug Paul Case lives in Bloomington, where he recently earned an MFA at Indiana University. He is the poetry editor of Word Riot and of Gabby, a new journal dedicated to the talky poem. His work has appeared in Salt Hill, Court Green, Washington Square, and Redivider.
Photo by Sherrie Thai