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Primitive Road

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Say you love the albums with the smoky riffs
and downbeat rhythms. Here, they beg, fall in with us.
Forget that book, have a whiskey . . . have another.

Say you love the books, the words
and the silences between the words—
faded yellow dashes on a disused highway.

Say you love the highway, the blacktop
and the bullet-riddled sign that reads
Primitive Road where the blacktop ends.

Say you love the fields, the black of midnight,
coyotes' yipped prayers, and
their raw thirst for hens.

Say you love the raw salt of powder
when its ghost rises from the rifle's breech
and settles, sweet with lead, in your lungs.

Then breathe what's left back to the world—
speak the coyote's tongue, sweat the nitro
from your blood, say you love what you've become.

Source: Poetry (November 2006)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2006 issue of Poetry magazine

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Primitive Road

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