The Invention of Gunpowder

Driving west, we compare barbecue-beef sandwiches to ox roast,
me greasy at one of the innumerable picnics, my wife
on her sweaty way to Whippy Dip. An English Ford
rattles down the two-track. The smoke of zapped bees

curls above the workers whacking buckets of orange golf balls
into the weedy heat. The nights are brief & endless. One solstice,
a few of us camped at Bass River, eating psilocybin at whim,
aroma of salt & firelight, sexual fumbling, visionary laughter

at nothing. On the bluff, a hand-sized hunk of silken granite
good for skinning mastodons. What lives here? I don’t mean
dreams, even dreams of the Japanese migrants who laid out
a wedding feast of raw everything that time. Strangled whiff

of cordite, the marksmanship medal pinned to the blue shirt.
Rest is real as work & food more so, soaking through paper plates.

John Repp

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