Chip Livingston

Could Be You


It’s a gray day, this breakfast of laughing down graves,
mom hung. This morning wreck of try the bacon, try 

the fired reunion of cider lungs. Could be you
at 17 preening. Could be you, blue frat boy, 

dug up and reburied. There were pages you heard
through the bedroom tantrum, a low cloud downstairs, 

a cloud spidering, a fall-around, knock-out drive.
Like when you moved to California, the still blond 

sticky lining, a man’s demented frustration
into slopes of blue. Terrible as every mad darkness, 

full sable desire, the headboard’s glad grimace,
the mirror in the hatband, let other instruments 

ground a family, the limits of mind tingling,
the slight nerve quiver steep in the knife chamber.

Double confusion gives rise to menace, a hundred shapes
endured, outstretching distrust, the clock’s iron wonder. 

Could be you one of those black boys missing.
Could be your jaw behind the shin bone. 

Dog-eared, those soul-felt lengths. The shadows
of your intervals have vaguely opened hands.


Chip Livingston