two from Mercedes Lawry

Sometimes it’s all backward living

In the spoiled mirror, a broken-down face

that cannot take more sorrow, but falls,

sags, pulls air in unwillingly.

Best to keep in motion.

Out the backdoor onto the porch, down (again)

the steps and whaddya know,

a palmful of stars, bitty white lights

that will fool you. Drive a fast car,

swim into the spoony night,

give up your ghost and the uncles of your ghosts

and memory lane and tidal surges.

In the depths of the soul, well,

what can you hear? Echo?

Testing 1-2-3? Nothing at all?

Close your eyes and listen to some banjo.

You’re not the last to feel this way.

Contributors Notes

the jest at the end of a life

how it might be seen

how it might be missed

sooty rain from the coal days

laundry that ticked on the line

the rough wood of clothes-pins,

their perfect shape

mouths empty of teeth

rivers veining every which way

catalog lust

the body but a crazy map

the folds soft as baby skin,

thinning, as does the border

Scott Sullivan

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