GENERAL MOTORS PARTS PLANT, DAYTON, OHIO
Tanuki is the Japanese raccoon—they bring good luck
I worked with Tanuki—their grandfathers
Immigrated here for jobs. They have short life spans
But large scrotums, white like modeling clay.
My boss Hank folded his flesh into a flower
He’d present to Jo, the secretary, on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Thursdays, he’d hold a bag of ice in his lap because
Fridays the flower belonged to his wife.
Jo was not a Japanese raccoon. She was from Wichita.
And I talked to her on the periphery—little jokes
About how all this reminds me of Philip Levine,
Or no jokes, catching her eye between torques
Of popcorn screws into heat shields on SUV seats.
The Tankui mocked me with their junk.
One formed our heads from his testicles,
Our bodies copulating skin-figures.
The other shaped a word balloon:
I love Josephine from my facsimile’s mouth.
Instead of suicide, I laid in bed and thought of Wichita.
After she quit, Hank asked if we fucked.
I did not tell him about the time I was naked,
When she climbed on top of me in only her underwear.
We talked about how, on Thursdays,
Hank’s crotch resembled a zeppelin,
How she liked to feel me through cotton.
I did not tell Hank any of that, just asked him to smother me.
“Only cowards kill with the skin sack,” he replied. Instead,
He toweled the sweat from my arms with his giant scrotum,
Said “You don’t die for anybody, not even girls from the plains.”