he was a ranch dip kind of guy.
he liked cheap breadsticks and tiny samples of grocery store cheese.
he drove a 1987 lincoln towncar with keyless entry
and he manufactured drywall for a living.
he loved dinosaurs.
he wore steel toe boots and stiff shirts
and his hands
were always crispy.
he lived out in the desert,
in a crumbly, brown sugar house surrounded by
his cooking tasted like pine cones.
his shirts smelled like old spice.
on the eve of his 20th anniversary,
he quit his job two hours into the shift.
he dropped his safety glasses into the gypsum
and watched them sink slowly
as if they were melting
into folds of old skin.
he walked away
and didn't bother clocking out.
he didn't wash his hands and he didn't smile.
he just left.
the day his wife disappeared
was the day before her 20 year high school reunion.
he had come home
to a cage full of hungry parakeets
and a frightened dog,
nervously weaving itself,
in and out of the blinds.
she had walked away
and she hadn't bothered clocking out.
she just washed her hands, smiled,
he watered the evergreens for the first time that day.
and when he finished watering them, he cleaned the guest room.
he cleaned it meticulously, sweeping every corner
with a damp broom.
the motion of the broom kept his mind at bay.
and for the time being, he enjoyed the
eventually, while sweeping,
between the rolltop and the divan
geography project from school.
it was a plaster volcano.
hanging heavy in his hands,
mounted to thick plywood,
covered in hardened dirt,
and flecked with tiny, plastic dinosaurs
this little volcano
he hadn't made anything worth while in years.
and suddenly, like a crack to the spine
he felt like dropping his safety glasses
into the gypsum
all over again.
the day after her disappearance
he never returned to work.
and for 7 years now
he has been making life-size plaster dinosaurs
for roadside exhibits and truck stop gas stations.
every dinosaur measures 20 feet exactly,
each is painted in silver and purple,
and out of the six hundred models he's made