How to make loss real

How to make loss real

Picture someone you love. Maybe your wife, the way she smells when she steps out of the shower, her hair dripping. Imagine her scrunching those strands with a towel, then rubbing lotion onto her thirsty limbs. See her wrapping that towel around her, tucking the ends into the towel dress…
Circa 1994

Circa 1994

after Jason Isbell’s “The Life You Choose” It wasn’t Jack and Coke, it was Southern Comfort in Taco Bell cups full with ice, no doubt on our way to another viewing of Pulp Fiction or to Hoover Reservoir to steam windows and dream of big cities and rock stars and riot…
For What It’s Worth

For What It’s Worth

Occasionally someone would stop Elmer Newby in a store and ask him why in the world he’d help the government run people off their land. Elmer always clenched his teeth and stiffened his shoulders. His cheeks turned red. “Hell, I didn’t decide this. That was some fool in Washington,” he…
A Great Distance

A Great Distance

for Daniel Wallace When she was six years old, she spent two nights lost in the woods. Her mother and father had decided to camp in the Smoky Mountains for the weekend, leaving Raleigh on a June morning and arriving at the park entrance in mid-afternoon, just in time to…
honey boy, honey boy

honey boy, honey boy

you’re a demigod, honey boy:             a refrain of affirmation though dulcet still             you’re just human learn not to rely on sight             because it’s only clear too late, looking back follow the scent…
The Race Bone

The Race Bone

That old man proclaims, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” But where in the body does the race bone lie? Can we find it on an X-ray? Is it locked inside the spine? Does it make its home among the vertebral bones? Or is it hidden in…
Orchard

Orchard

to the man who told me he was tired of hearing about Strange Fruit   watch them hang // blood oranges // ripened from the inside out // swollen from the intake of rain // juicy // best picked when dead // sliced from the tree // cut open //watch…
Market Forces

Market Forces

She drove down on a glorious May morning, and had she not already known she was leaving God’s country she would have suspected she was entering it. Kathryn Banks had woke in an angle of light, the early sun falling through the bedroom window of her Loudon County estate and, for…