A harvest moon hovers like a tractor’s headlight or the pewter-colored, Frisbee-like flying saucers in the sci-fi films where the Earth is up for grabs
and the jackbooted extraterrestrials cull conquest at every turn. Movie light falls onto the sandbox and playground, ponytailed sisters on the swings
in Star Wars feety pajamas. In a convertible, top down, you hear the hullabaloo at a funeral home, a wailing for the war dead as a light turns green
and a muscle car roars. Across gravel, a space over, in the last drive-in in Newark, Ohio, a kid wets his finger. Sticks it in the ear of his sister.
Onscreen, leggy popcorn boxes and soft drinks lampoon the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes— America, you are best as the carloads arrived
to hear Tommy Kirk ask, Can I keep him? Maybe you are old enough to ask for sex or refuse it with some minor key moaning.
Eventually, Old Yeller will need shooting. And when it comes, the din of American unhappiness, it swivels heads in starlight
by the signage with a fortuitous dark bulb to collapse spelling locals know by heart in the last September you may ever love.
Roy Bentley is the author of Walking with Eve in the Loved City, a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize, and Starlight Taxi, which won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize. A new book, American Loneliness, is due out in April of 2019 from Lost Horse Press.
Header photo by Peek Creative Collective, courtesy Shutterstock.