by Christopher Prewitt
Assemblage on the Lottery and the Local Economy
Here I lean against the edge of a basket
of a hot air balloon
looking down at my twin sister
the steel mill
Someone proposing a toast
raises a glass on a balcony
I’m floating over
I feel as oil feels refined
with my lilac shirt buttoned up
just at the bottom of
my surgical scar
I am the remnants
of some dead thing feeding a machine
a number for money
As a young one I was given to fits
of dancing on pool tables
for the god I served
Now that he’s my lover
my surgeon says he wishes
he hadn’t taken out my heart
which is worth as much as an ant
scaling the slope
of a wooden rail at the river mill.
Meditation Beneath the Last Great Elm in Chester Park
In a day of blinding aircraft,
I built a church a fire to think.
I scaled and gutted the fish
of my old way of life.
There were times I was
a little girl setting fire to ants
with Father’s cologne
and Mother’s hairspray.
Things catch fire, but I can sing
“O Holy Night” in the falling snow,
when I’m starting to get hysterical
in my moth-eaten sweater.
Yes, there are days when I’m alone
in this town, and it’s every day.
But there is still the one streetlight
that comes on despite me
being the only one who hasn’t left.
I think to myself, that’s just fine.
Tomorrow morning I’ll get some paint
and write my family’s name
on every inch of the army tank
abandoned in the shopping center
parking lot. I’ll get a ladder
and my knife, I’ll cut down
from the tree every swaying
uniformed body when the starlings
have left the nest of mouths.
Ghost Discovering a Graffiti Thesis
A city by a river at night.
The lunatics were hiding in a cabin
underneath my thumbnail.
If I could stop right now, I would.
Wild geese are flying
in the phlegm of a hobo’s cough;
he is a master of calculus
keeping warm by burning
old lottery tickets in an oil drum.
The earth is a pay lake of bones—
so it is written
in graffiti on the concrete column
of the overpass.
What does it mean? I find myself
not bleeding like I used to,
not missing the women I’ve known,
nor their hair nor their tastes,
but their beds. Whatever I am,
liquid or stone, I have no reason
to continue, but I must. I must.
Christopher Prewitt is a writer from southern Appalachia. His poems, fiction, and reviews have appeared in The Four Way Review, the NewerYork, The Cafe Ireal, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Vinyl, The Iowa Review, among others. His awards include nominations for the Best of the Net anthology and the Pushcart Prize, as well as the Billie & Curtis Owens Creative Writing Award. He is a former poetry editor at Inscape and Minnesota Review. He is at work on a novel, a full-length collection of poetry, and he has a chapbook ms. under review by editorial staffs.
Miguel Angel Reyes
detail from Fragmento Del Artifice