Issue 2.21

Dropping the Universe

It’s kinda sad how much we love each other
we couldn’t even get together
a postcard and a stamp
when love hit the fan
She drops the Universe and runs to me
forever is just another word for never
sunny Saturday nights
are like being paralyzed in paradise

Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 80 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry. Garduno is a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.  

Prairie Ennui

            for Adrian C. Louis

In Oklahoma’s bright hell,
a foul mung hangs over everything
& you are a fresh ghost steaming like a calf
born by moonlight,
legs shaking in their cold new shape.

Lake Hefner tremeloes, lighthouse moans,
deaf rattle—my grandmother breathing in Parkinson’s
from a backwoods hospice,
that slow pull out a room of locust.
Is this how we qualify loss? In the summer
scabbed over with grasshoppers,
you shouted love, didn’t give a shit if
it shouted back or not.
That’s power, a snorting laugh at an
empty cabinet, a mobile phone
flung in the backyard blue, a spring
fracture in a sofa.

Kilpatrick takes us from Edmond’s
gentrified shroud to the wheezy metro sprawl,
turnpike named for a thief, a road that
never pays its own rent.
Your see-through fingers scan the FM,
summoning Waylon, another cackling spirit. Back to basics.
In this timeline every destination is a haunt.
Uncle Adrian! Where will we go now
to feed our angers? Sirens
break the mist like searchlights and I can’t take my
eyes from the road to see you,
afraid to miss my own blooming crash.

Last Look at Indiahoma Before Old 62 Takes You Nowhere Else

Mammatus clouds over a baseball field just off the tracks: I LEFT MY HEART IN WAIKIKI 1995 aerosol white on the corroding grain bin // God I wish I knew what poet gave us that // Grab a bag of ice from the one gas station // Faded in the window/Nickelodeon popsicle promotion/almost colorless now // All these shows are dead/some of the actors are too // When you were hicktown little you wanted to be on tv/neon green slime pour / solving mysteries on bikes in a bullshit cul de sac with friends who didn’t live in the boonies / who didn’t grow up to hate your version of a boy // You dodged that dream / the coked predators / the dressing room evils / DUI tabloid monsters // Instead you are invited to die like every other dream / soaking wet in a backroad / A thousand hazy couldhaves / this place // Brainwave infirmity // Too much drawl in my prairie home cortex / the way every cowboy dad orders a marrgurreetuh // Foggy county cops tap all windows in all dirt roads / the only places on earth named for farmers // They know the rut // Every headlight cast carries fire scent / ditchweed glow / puckered / parched // Forties & drunk radio / will not quench these thirsty fields / These are feral roads / Killers dream here // Only cows outnumber ghosts / The dead outnumber the pop. 303 above them // Here / freedom means alone / beaded like hot glue dew on the cemetery fade flowers of dream sex/dream love / dream home / dream family / dream drug // Take the hand // I can’t show you any god out here/ any kind of brightlight hustle / but let me kiss your laugh in the scowl of these tombstones / tangle fingers in the sun hot vines of your head / stomp barefoot in stickerburs to sing for you.

Seth Copeland lives in Milwaukee. His poems have appeared in Yes Poetry, Kestrel, Heavy Feather Review, Drunk Monkeys, and Juke Joint, among others. He edits petrichor. Find him on Twitter @SethTCopeland.

Gelati Celesti

Leaning against the counter, I pick out two flavors that make me think of you: something sweet, something savory, they contradict one another. Wondering what you would do, I ask for savory at the bottom of the bowl so it’s the last thing I taste before I brush my teeth for bed.

In the morning, you make breakfast, cracking two free-range eggs over a buttered pan three states away. You hold the pan over the gas stove in your right hand, scramble with your left. I wake up hours after you, tasting the salt on the back of my tongue.

Kaitlyn Crow is a queer poet based in Virginia. Their works have appeared or are forthcoming in Apeiron Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and Door Is A Jar, among others. They serve as an Editor at K’in Literary Journal and Chaotic Merge Magazine. Find them on Twitter @queeryeehawpoet and Instagram @kaitlynwriteswords.