The State Bird’s the Meadowlark

(Badlands, d. Malick, 1973)

Hot, early suburb, still as the wedding cake in the freezer

given over to the dogs. A lot of cruelty to sweet beasts, a lot of dogs and men shot

while the girl—name her for Christmas, name her for Elvis—

diaries the bad blank masochist romance novel

in sentences she lick-spells onto the roof of her mouth.

Kit is two syllables, is James Dean, so-called, waves broadly, will try anything once,

and so her crinolines and bobby socks get trashed into the rusted can;

he makes a suicide A-side at the punched-through recording studio;

arsons up the dollhouse and piano;

and they set forth to make numb writ large.

O, let us all return to the treehouse and the tunnel by the river,

choose a new password for cloud-watching and two-stepping in the dusty

idyll of the forest, post-murder, pre-Vietnam, on the lam from the world of

just kinda blah, like when all the water’s run out of the bathtub.

Blue sky like empty faith. Her finger sings

inside a hostage industrialist’s glass. It doesn’t rain, not once