Cracked jackets of field corn bake
at the back end of Heartbreak, Iowa.
Easing his way north through
the yellowing tallboys, Luke Jacks,
on the cliff of nineteen, on the run
from hell with a name like home,
stops to hear the lies late August tells.
A blue racer coils at his feet. Swifts
kamikaze the nest of his cinnamon hair.
An orphan cloud stalls like a thought.
Young Luke dream-sails the gray nimbo
effortless and immense over the hounds
of hate his Daddy breeds for company
and spite past the whole thin shimmer
of his come-to-nothing life past razor
eyes gone slant with accusation and
minds so crazed by white-hot conviction
they shouldn’t be worth hawkspit
to this gaunt captain of a ship called
Consequence on a day named Desire.
And even that short straw broke when
Luke’s birthday cropped up number five
in the Vietnam crap-shoot shoveling him
deep into 1-A country and here he is
hunched down on the sun-spidered tile
of Iowa looking back looking ahead
wondering whether he can ride out
this nightmare on the back of a twenty
dollar bill and whittled-to-splinter odds
of making it in a land as alien as space
and altogether improbable as Canada.