My First Life

My first life
was of snow and sorrow,
of aching and bleeding
amongst demons
and rib bare wolves

A freedom striking blow,
my hands themselves
became useless

Swallowed alive
by black spruces

The brighter the soul
The darker the shadows


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I have a snake in my throat,
tobacco spitting son of a bitch.
Twisting its way from the acids
of my stomach.

Dad had a water moccasin in his throat
when he stood young and tall,
the Navy pulled it out if him.

Momma, she had one too,
Dad extracted it,
shortly after he yanked
her off of that two wheeled
death machine
and wiped the sunshine
from her skin.

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Committing him to the River

Nothing resembling a man

went into the water. 
But at least one of us

saw him,

floating down river.

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Sausage Gravy

God almighty

hides himself

within the mystic

pour of peppered sausage gravy

over hot buttermilk biscuits

I believe in the baptism.


This arcane art

this holy marriage

could have evolved

as did geometry,


or physics.


but indeed it held fast

just like Jesus


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Rats and Squirrels

The nightmare,


even after the old man left.


my grandmother

burned down the farm

headed to the mountains

full of bad memories and liquor.


my father’s curse,

the inheritance;

a pile of debris

left now to rats and squirrels.


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Fifty three

Fifty three pennies

Every year

All the way back to ‘64

Every one

Laid out on a railroad track

All in order

Fifty three of them


Fifty three pennies

Laid to waste

I pick each up

In reverse order

From the shiniest

To the most worn

Fifty three of them


Fifty three pennies

Weighing down my pocket


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The Canine People

up late with all the canine people

all proper,

eating off plates and all.




and almost civilized.


no pleasantries


true engagement.


just bark

and growl

and the bearing of teeth.


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