On Euclid Ave
from On Euclid Ave
© J. Fergus Evans, 2013

Sometimes home sits heavy in your bones
          so as you know you'll never leave.
 
Sometimes home opens up, all elastic
tissue and sinew, swallows whole all
the places you've been or missed.
 
For me, mostly, home is Atlanta in August
 
heavy with heat
 
drunk with magnolia dreaming. I
try to hold my home in my hand but
it's as viscous as humidity,
as solid as a heatwave…
 
My heart is hitchhiking on Euclid Ave
(even as I speak to you).
          Sweaty feet stuffed into sneakers,
          a thumb and fist thrust out like an invitation
(even as I speak to you).
My heart is hitchhiking
 
          trying to find his way to you,
          hoping you'll be happy when you see him. He'll
          lay his backpack down,
          unpack stories of hope and longing
          and he'll be long gone come morning
          (my heart isn't very good at staying).
 
In Atlanta, I saw days so sticky with summer
you could shower for hours and
still smell the heat on your hands,
the scent stuck in the creases of your fingers.
 
In Atlanta, I saw the asphalt crack, then turn liquid,
magmous,
black tar rivers and
the cicadas are singing.
 
My heart is hitchhiking down Peachtree St
(even as I speak to you).
          Each car that passes is a possibility
(even as I speak to you).
My heart is hitchhiking down Peachtree St.
 
My heart is sharing half a Camel Light with
a black drag queen called Crow.
She's got a smile she's got to screw on tight at each corner
and mean black eyes like a snapperhead.
But my heart, he's singing her love songs.
He can't help it.
He's crooning country roads
and lonesome winds whistling through pine trees, he
sings her
          sweetheart songs
          (sock-hop and promise songs)
songs about forever.
And they both know it's only gonna last as long as this half a cigarette but
my heart, he's a charmer…
 
This one summer day I watched a train go by and
(I was stuck at this crossing so)
it was summer
and the sun smelled like
soap and
growing, the kind of
sunshine that sticks in your throat ―
So
one day I watched a train go by
(I was stuck at this crossing)
just watched the red light flashing
and the noise of train like a fist hit me
deep, the noise was like water, rushing like a river,
like the Mississippi, rushing itself to an oceanic ending.
One day I watched a train go by
     and thought about leaving ―