D. S. Butterworth
the drunk on the bicycle sees his hair as a pentecostal fire
Wind is life, and a moving bicycle manufactures a wind
that violates the principles of hair when the rules
of order operate according to vanity. A nun’s
wimple would work the prow of his face toward
the eternal beachhead that is the world. But he hates
nuns. His eyes, too, squint from blanched lids at the grit
that makes him want to banish the silicates always crumbling
at the seams of infrastructure. It may be shellac
breaking down in his self-generated gust, or treason
of the tire tread funneling up microscopic debris
into the slipstream of irritation before his face.
He composes a law even as the sound of his breath
swims to him through the fog of exertion and the fact
of his labor. Work should be for the plebes. Lord of the machine,
he considers abolishing existence—why the bicycle,
why a street, why legs and pumping heart, at all?
He grimaces as if a vision were to emerge from his bowels.
Where was he going? What was it he needed to tweet,
that joke about Dopey fucking penguins? He laughs and feels
a moment of joy, the intoxication of movement, of telling
the wheels where to go, having them comply. And when
he sees his reflection in the window he knows he has been
touched by the finger of the gods, his hair swelling bigly,
reports of his enemies’ immolation redolent in a tongue of flame.
D.S. Butterworth is the author of Waiting for Rain: A Farmer’s Story (Algonquin Books, 1992), The Clouds of Lucca (Lost Horse Press, 2014), and The Radium Watch Dial Painters (Lost Horse Press, 2011). His work has appeared in Cream City Review, The Wisconsin Review, The Louisville Review, The Portland Review, The Alaska Quarterly Review, The Santa Clara Review, The Midwest Quarterly Review, The Windless Orchard, Plainsongs, Flyway, Amoskeag, The Rockhurst Review, Poet Lore, The Seattle Review, Willow Springs, and The Baltimore Review. He teaches writing and literature at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
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