Poetry from ‘The Feathered Sleep
I came to know the people of Whisper through Reverend Smythe. He described a picturesque town, full of people you would expect to see portrayed in a Norman Rockwell painting. Pansy Faye, Leroy, Ron, Elwyn and Billy Ray came back to life and for a moment and I found myself wishing I could turn back time.
Days slowly turned into weeks and the rescue equipment sounds became Whispers’ death rattle. When the earth movers’ bucket scooped up a pile of rubble, there was a high-pitched squeal, as if the town was screaming while it was being eviscerated.
A worker uncovered the crushed, striped pole that hung outside Leroy’s barber shop and tossed it into the back of a truck, already heavy laden with debris. A large shard of glass with the letter L painted in red, could only be from Lucy’s cafe.
As those remains were being discarded, there were no smells of aftershave or freshly baked cornbread. There was only the overpowering smell of death.
Reverend Smythe, clutching his Bible, was looking haggard…
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There were no shotguns
no contraception necessary
marriage was secret
rushed through with hands in front of mouths
to spare the blush of court-house staff
unaccustomed to women without men
they looked down as if crestfallen
it was fortunate I had not enough time to purchase
for it had always been my desire
to marry barefoot with knives in my hair
carrying your child to the altar
squirming in my belly
this didn’t come to pass
squinting down lashed road
I see where I dropped myself
in the desert without my shoes
like old coinage without power of purchase
I watched the purple sky
reduce in cold boil
until amber filled horizon
night creatures stirred without sight
I didn’t have a way back
I didn’t have a way forward
this was my dowry
the sand blowing without mercy
scratching at the door
Here’s how you slap around a troll!