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thin rug of carrots
on the road broken carrots
children carry carrots
like little torches
one girl eats a carrot
tops of carrots
on the road a carrot
carried by a bone-thin dog
he is thin enough
not to know
the difference between
vegetable and bone

the people on the bus
begin to talk
they speak and wave their hands
they swarm their own faces
with hard hands and questions
they nearly fog the glass
with questions
they say carrots and carrots

but the carrot is mute
pulled along
broken by bus tires
it is nothing
if puppet if arrow
if finger if gold
aztec men in crooked
blue jeans and cocked backpacks
bent by stopped trucks
shove carrots into pockets
pockets engorged with carrots

the truck on its side in the ditch
pisses a yellow horse’s mane
the crippled windshield
so many glass bits
some of the glass is clean
some of the glass is red
like a pulled tooth

someone says lord
someone says god
someone moans

the bus driver kills the radio
shoots a look
at mary on the dash
touches her statue
like you would
a child or a dog or
the burro you wish to load
with sticks
from the mountains

a mound of carrots
slumped out of the rear
a child climbs unsteadily
up the carrots
a bent man points at a jacket
a shirt and a jacket
blood added to grass
flies loafing above

a head of sweat cuts the spine
aim and direction of a child’s playing ball
soft wonder it grows down
the lomas of the spine
the birds have begun
to clot in the sky
the carrots in the stomachs
slowly lose shape


Abraham Smith hails from Ladysmith, Wisconsin. His latest book of poems is Hank (Action Books, 2010). He teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Alabama.