Looking for the Word

i stopped writing eulogy
after the moon lept from a single lane bridge by an old
grain elevator in southeast Minnesota
and lonely became my midnight dances in the street
singing to a pretty girl
no longer in the sky
with whom i'd only ever been quiet
boy, i had mind to cut that hand off altogether

there's a better word for this

i watch a small man on stage with shoulder tips wired
to the ceiling and the Dust Bowl settling just between his clavicles
who's left his likeness on the floor in a sweat pool
of modest preference for quiet

silent point to his thyroid
he seems to have found a growth
in his throat, a protrusion from the closet factory back there
which for years has mass-produced honest letters for a world he
wants to love not secretly
but of late, they're clogging in his blood and he
knows it for the swell of his heart
and the rasp in his lungs
i think he's finally here to show us

the sound that came out when he opened his mouth was like
he wandered from the woods at Gettysburg
and only then knew why
he had walked a year's trail mumbling goodbyes
with his palms to the trunks of old hemlocks draped
in blue and the dust of muskets

he stepped slowly
to the side of the microphone
and cranked a gear he'd fashioned at his jaw
opened mechanically and
like that, the man slayed us, a letter at a time

he'd made each punctuation
from the stutter stunted ellipses of adolescence in isolation
thanks to a shame anchored tongue always a few beats slow of a voice,
this was him, on his up way up from the depths.

somewhere inside of him
he was crashing naked into a lake he'd never swam,
he was sprinting, chin up, away from the floodlights on his house
cause he knows the northern aurora don't come south like this too often,
he was shaking off
the stiff glass skin of a boy that's been cast to the corners,
saying honestly that blue collars fit him best
and that he's struck grossly homesick when he sucks in wind on the highway

and he couldn't see us standing,
for his closed eyes and his want to finish

but we hugged and yelled
we spread our arms to mirror his flight
and we ran with this river coming back to its cracked beds
we felt St Paul's wooed knees quiver.

we were mad in the flicker dance
of the pyre he'd built to eulogy

the bullies that I was
the hitman that we were
curled in the corner and blushed for having not
recognized god under fist

i want to pull this out of the wind
to name this mountaintop so to know
where i can climb to leave my thanks

I am looking for the word

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