Donald Dunbar
Fifty Times a Day with Food

Dear Doctor who smokes cherry tobacco,

My dreams of late, of horses just outside,
        stomping about like a busted autumn
        while I wear a quick stroke of hair
        & kill them with a fork in the neck,
my dreams are a kick in the face. It seems my teeth are
barely standing, it seems my mouth isn’t even healing,

& I feel like I’ve known you all my life.
Like you’re a growth on the back of my head.
A pill to be swallowed in the pink of childhood.

Dear Doctor with a cherry pipe, each kind word,

I’d have you in a factory, in a hospital.
In the messy skin of a cooling animal.
In the back of my mouth, by the throat...

It’s this unfortunate, uncut technicolor, it won’t wash out.
& I am not immune to some things. Some
    large things.
I feel you are famous in my village
    & we still await your return.

Dear Doctor with a halo above his head,

I see a gun-gray order to the story, & I am
not immune to architecture. There it is:
    in my bones, in the clouds,
    in the paisley structures of smoke & milk,
it was even

    in the womb,
I remember it, around.
The waves of mother that washed along my shores,
a grindstone.

Dear Doctor of wrinkles, Dear Doctor of the soaking bleach,

The factory where we
    char the old horses,
I grew up on that same block, once.
The leaves died variously

& so, the flag outside
flew half-mast, & at night was lit by these muscular lights
    stumbling into sky—

        a bundle of needles

            a tumbler of isopropyl

                a thimble of tobacco

& I, an instrument withdrawn from a bag
    to later be put back in.