The Crock

Noah Burton

Stories of the wolf-hog spread over town:
three eyes, one breast, a venerable net of pearls
around each furry ankle. Stories of the president
flood into the motels: a cast iron pan, oiled up,
ready to fry a thousand quail eggs. A few rumors
galloping in: I was a horse once. I am a horse now.
The grass, if mowed, ends up in a treasure hole
wide open in China. Stories, yarns, garbles,
build a town into a city I’m skeptical of
like a split birch along the highway thinks
the forest, acres out there, is just a tall tale.

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The Purpose of the Thimble Inside the Cabinet

You are sitting in the laced light of a lamp,
that is how the quilt is made.
I am throwing a fit.
You are humming through a telescope.
I am throwing a fit in the gully
where potato salad fills the picnic
baskets of grandparents like computer memory:
gold and gridded with glowing theaters. A pair
of suspenders wrinkling in an attic, they hold
the greyhound’s leash and walk. I fill
a cup up with well water and you take it.
I’m not fit for caring, the tractor says
in the field outside the kitchen, no, he says,
Not caring—carrying. Flat tires. Bent axles.
But the rain feels nice on my hood. I throw a bucket
into the sink and the night on my head.

Noah Burton’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Yes, Poetry, Paperbag, Hardly Donuts, Outlook Springs, among others. He is a recipient of the 2015 Dick Shea Memorial Prize in Poetry judged by Tanya Larkin. Noah lives in New Hampshire where he works at a burrito shop, teaches at New England College, and plays in the occasional band/perpetual solo project, House of 1000 Sports Cars.