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The Anti-Hero by Rachel Khosrowshahi

You’ve got a laugh of a vaudeville actor, making smoke rings after the anxious crowd leaves and the cruel lights go down, with hands big enough to span my waist with space for your ring fingers to meet in the middle. hands ,coarse but not clumsy with chords or with women .

You are the mayor of the sinking town. You’ve borrowed money you can’t pay back for sand bags and to secure the levees. Dutch Elm takes the trees, but you wont leave. You swear this is a haven, a haven for all the poets.

You know the moon’s cycles and watch the night sky. You know the best time to plant a garden. The dusk of the south hangs on you like burning sage or the incense of a church.

You know the migrations of birds and how to find water in a drought. I have heard you talking with bees. You keep clover and magnolia in your dresser drawers kudzu covers the house and creeps up and around the stairwell. mimosa blooms blow across the front porch faster than we can sweep them off again.

You can put a match out under your tongue or light one under your thumbnail. pull the tablecloth out from under our best china in one quick pull without even unsettling the teacups.

we talk about logic. we talk about medicine. we speak in metaphor. You can read my palm better than anyone. I get the craving for thick, black coffee when you visit, you bring the smell of cotton and cold slate rock with you.

You have a high, steadfast bed but you don’t sleep much. You never stay still, magpie. I look back without a cloud to be found anywhere though I have not even one single photograph of you.

Just as I am about go looking for you I realize it was all only a love song for Kentucky.

There is no man like that walking the face of this Earth. it has only been the voice of my muse. He’s been walking with me from baptism to barroom and I don’t mean to cut ties with him now...


Mission to the Hurons by D.A. Lockhart

I’ve come to this place at the base of this straight line that ascends a river and falls away into a nation beyond the straights. The Assumption Church of the Mission to the Hurons rises alongside, lead in order by the aged copper green pin pricks of cross and turrets. Divinity made concrete and pushed crooked by the even descent of time.

Indifferent trucks climb above the orange and yellow fall canopy that hides the absence of Huron villages; the smoke and long- houses

and beached canoes that followed the once aligned forms of the mis- sion. People the French had named for the wild boar then chased away into the slow sprawl of farmland by the hard metallic lines that conceived of this bridge and those modern pack animals that now snort their mechanical grunts in their ascent of the rusted teal and metal cables spreading out above

Pointe De Montreal. And together those left here list with the rows of empty houses and quiet of city streets. All dwarfed beneath the adjacent towers of the mission, I feel the glacial decomposition of Carolinian forest floors, the certainty that we must all blend into the ground.

It is rot without rebirth. The Hurons gone but the mission that promised them salvation remains. It sits in the unfamiliar calm that followed the firedance. A stalwart calm that lingers beneath the spires and turrets that slide at differing angles like a skin trying to shed itself.

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