Boxcar Children

for Simon

Years later they went home again, redammed the river, swam in the old pool.
Swept out the car, stared out over the valley.
Watching sunsets over the city.

Money was different, though.
They bought a generator from the army surplus and ran amps, guitars, mikes, soundboards through it.
Benny, hair pulled back from his face with a piece of twine, stayed there nights.
Machete under his pillow, just in case.

As the summer went down in flames, they went out over the city.
Distortion bouncing off the chalk of the hills.
Violet wailing, voice breaking, sparks leaping from mouth to microphone.
Crouched on the roof of the car, stamping time.

People found them there, drawn up from the valley like smoke.
Young men with all the fat boiled off them.
Women with the surprised hair of a cockatoo.
White lines cut into their forearms, breath sweet with whiskey.

As the stars came out they screamed.
Voices washing against the faded red paint like waves.
Back and forth in the dark, bodies sweaty, slamming into each other.
Breaking teeth, blacking eyes, laughing, laughing.

Snarl of guitar, slash of drums.
Henry and Jessie silent and lidded, Benny a red flare in the darkness.
Years later they went back.
Redammed the river, swam in the old pool.
Washed dishes, again, with sand.