The poet leans into the microphone, begs to be heard over the bawling blues on the scratchy speakers from the Jamaican barbecue food truck, can’t turn the music down or sales might sag. A cinnamon-skinned woman calls out the orders as the food comes out.Read More
Cool air whispers
up from the river
Cottonwood leaves lit from
below by lamplight,
shimmering silver against a
storm-wracked sea of stars
I taste your fear,
bitter on my tongue.
The choking aroma of
linseed constricts my throat,
stifles my guttural sobs,
can’t cough away the thick
blue gunpowder smoke.
We are too young to know how to do this.
I’ve read a book I found in the city library.
We have acquired the vocabulary.
We sit on the edge of your bed, fasten one another’s eyes,
say the words for what we will do.
Why would I not stop and gaze
on the sidewalk beside the orthodox church
as the Sunday morning faithful file inside
You are my sunshine, you write on a sticky note
and leave it on a bag of peppered jerky on my desk.
For years I’ve toiled,
I’ve worked the earth.
Well, I’ve worked on the earth,
pushing a mower over
a puny patch of grass.
An opening excerpt from the short story for which I won the Swarthout Award for Fiction.Read More
Conspiring with my audience
in suspended disbelief, I twitch my legs
and jerk my head and blink away tears.
Seldom a day passes that I don’t see the moon.
Hanging by its point amid a field of faint stars
or glowing audaciously over a cluster of
cottonwoods on a sunwashed afternoon.