Policeman’s Heel – by Rustin Larson
My heel hurts. I search for fish and chips
in the newspaper. I listen to the ham radio
at midnight, some guy who calls himself Raw
Bacon in Montana near the Canadian border.
I put my foot up on the ottoman and light
another Chesterfield and inhale deeply.
The cuckoo tocks and ticks its black forest
pendulum and the parrot sleeps in its cage
of fake gold. Raw Bacon says a moose
is playing wind chimes with its antlers.
The river transforms into a serpent
of shredded bark through a forest of flames.
Everything burns, the moose runs
with its tongue dripping bright orange blood
which splatters the shapes of flowers, spiders,
and bicycle gears. It always feels like some-
thing unfinished, a prescription bottle
left empty, a case of Pepsi freezing
on the doorstep, dollars wrapped inside lollipops
on the Christmas tree at the Holy Roller
Church, the cowboy guitar with one string
in the basement with the gas masks
and the civil defense warden’s helmet.
Semi-tractors of pigment cross the border
in Montana. Opossums with glowing eyes
cross the highway. Some squeal or beep
staccatos through the radio signal like the music
of a Russian satellite disrupting Elvis,
The Ventures, the cobwebs, the .38 specials
and the drawer full of rubber bands and bottle
stoppers. My wife sleeps but I can’t, so I
smoke and watch the sleepless green
of the radio dial. Raw Bacon signs off,
guarding the border from red invasion,
and wishes all us kiddies a Merry Christmas.