Austin Metze

My Lips are Gone

My lips are gone
they jumped face
in the desert north of Phoenix

I see them now
under the electric stars
forming long
drawn out o’s
making wide
coyote vowels
then hiding
at dawn
just below the desert floor
vieled from the brilliant sun
by just the thinest
dusting of sand

did they grow weary of me
of forming my words
letting in my food
making shapes
to signify my moods
did they never forgive me
for the countless cigarettes
I made them suck?

that may all be true
but I think
they fell
hopelessly in love
with the desert night

no matter
I have new lips now
and they feel
like baby lips
because they are so new
coochie, coochie, coo


Glass tears sparkle
in the afternoon
body by fisher
rests like desert bones
beside the clay rich pond
an unfinished highway
as big as an aircraft carrier

twenty miles north
a red covertible
full of student teachers
escapes the main road
takes possession of a new way
riding freedom’s road
disbelieving signs
gaining confidence
each uninterupted mile
at mile twenty
it acheives lift-off
in a high screech arc
picking up too late
reflected signals
from the busted ground

I was walking a narrow footpath
beside a cemetery
I was smelling dogwood blossoms
on the other side
of a chain link fence
I was loving life more
because of where I was

I heard
sounds of screaming tires
grabbing new cement
clinging to it
worshiping it
pleading with it
not to let go

I saw
a red convertible
catapulted from the skyway’s deck
I saw it draw a downward arc
across the blue
into the clay rich pond

and then I erased it

a week later

the car had winched its way
up from the muck

I poked my head inside
and felt hot metal swoon
the smell of death
in the afternoon
on the dead leather seats
a gentle wind
rifled sun bleached pages
of a history book
the steel dash was painted
with the lips of a young girl
who had come from the back seat
to kiss her life goodbye

I could feel the moment
when clay claimed clay
and remembered a sky
loaded with regrets
I could finally feel the horror of it all
and the sweet fragrance
of dogwood
in the afternoon.

About the Author

Born in 1944, Austin Metze is a writer/graphic designer who has lived in Woodstock for the past eighteen years. He is currently working on a book of memoirs.

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