The 2River View 25.2 (Winter 2021)

Al Maginnes

On Either Side

My friend lists all the reasons
he’s drinking again, but it’s late afternoon
in the valley of my body and dark
ladders down through the branches
of the eucalyptus tree in his yard.
I know the reasons: boredom,
insomnia weed makes him paranoid.
But mostly the tunnel, dark
and unrelenting. I know those reasons:
I recited them while I walked

to the cinder block liquor store
where I bought Jim Beam or the barstool
where desperation and hope sat
on either side of me. I know them
as well as I could once tell you
each turn on the drive to the house
where my friend lives. From
the backseat, blindfolded,
I could give you those directions.
But if the car makes one wrong turn,
if it’s off by a single block,
I will never find the way back.

The Rising Price of Resurrection

I drove two miles more than I needed
to watch the odometer spin over
a hundred thousand miles, fresh zeros
shining up blank on my dashboard. And for
a mile I pretended I was driving
a new car before it groaned and was again
the oil guzzler, clunker I prayed would
turn over each morning. My car today
will have to make a million miles to
show me all zeros. A fresh start costs more
and takes longer than it once did, but I’ve
signed up to make payments until time ends
because I always believe my body
good for one more mile and then one more.

Al Maginnes, the author of Sleeping Through the Graveyard Shift (Redwing Press) and The Next Place (Iris Press), has poems Lake Effect and Tar River Poetry.

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