On Kansas 156

All the radio has to say
is eighties rock

and Kenny Rogers.
You get behind

a horse trailer
and stay there

because you can’t see
around it and,

oh man,
the radio seek stops

on “Right Down The Line,”
Gerry Rafferty making love sound uncrappy

whether you’re ten
with a fresh copy of City To City in your hands

or forty-five with your two daughters
bored in the backseat;

you feel helpless
as the station starts to slip

into static, last lines
of the song in and out,

oil pumps and grain towers,
cassettes you forgot

how they broke
after too many plays,

unspooling
deep

inside
your bones.



Space Mountain

gets tough
to get to
in the belly of the day,
but
when the Sun goes snuff
and the parade lights up,
you
sprint
the whole line, rockets
waiting for you like a valet roller coaster
again
and again,
scream
through the stars,
bolt out the exit,
shoot back through the queue,
arms
half-raised,
the galaxy’s
ecstatic breath
against
your face.



Disneyland, 2018

Sophia hasn’t left the hotel room.
All of you,
in slow motion, day
by day have
blossomed into cough, sniffle, groan,
in the pains, have pondered, should it get worse, the uncertainties of airline
and hotel and park ticket change foibles.

You’re at Disneyland
and Sophia does homework
from the classes she’s missing.
The horror.

Lucia, nine,
throat went wrong days before you left, wobbled off balance, recovered
just in time
to be the only functional one here,
your wife staring through you all as if you are ghosts,
you hoping that these feelings
are not about vomit
(It is sadness
to acknowledge
that if one eats anything
shaped like Mickey’s head,
there will be
repercussions).

Lucia dances,
she is the generator
who could juice all of Space Mountain
and more,
she asks questions, bounces bed to floor to bed to floor,
the sinus
behind your right eye
slowly cracking the shell of your skull;

your wife stares,
small twitch
and sigh,

you
feel like the poison apples
in the Happiest Place on Earth,
the ones
who bring this all
down.

Matt Mason
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