root cellar
The Suburban Garden
Adam Day

Beside the trim phlox and lamb’s ear -
where the sprinklers are on timer -
living bodies are buried
in the suburban garden. They are anchored
by engine blocks - the thick-fingered clowns.
Their dull heads swim
above the soil like moist bulbs
pulled into sunlight, veins bulging like guy wires
and their empire eyes have the overly intent
gaze of an evangelical. I have taken
their teeth. Their restless cocks
burrow below like root vegetables. Take this one
with the bit of spit at the corner
of his mouth; the scalp struggling grass
under gravel; the nose a flesh field
of sinkholes. When they see me coming
it’s as if they were sailors who, looking
overboard, saw in the waves, tigers’ mouths
gaping, rather than the vaginal blue wash
of the sea. I empathize with them; have myself
tied to the back porch, ears plugged, drenched
by endless buckets of salt water
while we’re teased with the naked ribcage
of a neighbor’s daughter. They are like the beetle
who one day woke to the horror
of a human body. And like the dead
they come to look like nobody, like a man
hiding his genitals between his legs.

This installation piece was created for a group show featuring works made in response to the poetry of Adam Day. The text of the poem appears at right.