Fall 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. IV, No. 3


Poetry    Translations    Fiction    Essays   

J.R. Pearson


Train Wreck

I have decided not to die.
Those were my words to thrift store mannequins
as they pushed steel beaks
through torqued metal,
pealed the car door from it's hinges
like a tin orange. Smell of gasoline
everywhere, they pulled us out.
The train was a stopped comet with contrails of us
glimmering like a crimson wake--
I remember them asking, who's' the president?
and I said Gerald Ford & how Gerald Ford
was possibly the best president in all of history
& he should still be president &
on -I couldn't stop talking.
They put me on a stretcher. I remember I.V. bags
like crystal organs producing light
and the tapioca sky funneling
around an infected orange wound.
I remember the last clear thing I said,
I have decided not to, just....no--



They don't make maps for what you saw caught
in ink-black feathers left on your Grandad's grave.
There's no rhythm to count the bones in your ribcage.
Put your hand beneath your suit,
touch hums heavy with jigsaw heart beats
between lungfulls of a glassblowers tube
or a living fist of beeswax stolen
from a hive of mangrove harmonizers.
Pull up your shirt,
Mom & Grandma talk unbreakable code
in the front seat of a 78 Chevy; you're only five
& don't know you're not supposed to have
gamma radiation glowing from an open wound
where your heart used to be. A gold slash through
metallic skin, fish scales with a miner's stripe
on the place that warmed up like the wood stove
when he made you breakfast.
Things moved so slow with him,
the day would stand still or time out perfectly,
a clockwork of safety & the smell of new licorice.
Mom whips her head around to the backseat,
Aspen that lined up like fence posts now refuse to pass,
two strands of hair slam together at the wrong end
of a Aztec pyramid. She says, for Godsakes put your shirt down.
You want to tell her, when I go burn me.
You need to be each wracked singularity,
everywhere all at once. You want to say,
pack my ashes in buckshot & paint me into the landscape.


Two Dreams of Ohio

He stood under an orange sky
the beige field stretched on as corduroy
his body caught August wind like chaff
filtered over empty corn rows
an eyeball peeking from every piece
a crow in cosmic color
settled down
looked left
stole his eyes
fluttered off like a chandelier hurricane
the elms & their leaves, bronchial sacs
pulsing with breath
the smell of wet railroad ties
iron rattled in the sudden rain
I chase him through plowed field
& oncoming train
it's headlamp bright so bright
I wonder if he's moving into it

Our two-acre front yard pond fills
with the back of a giant turtle
a big mouth bass rockets from rickety waves
pauses at the apex
snaps a bird-blur in its jaws
I find it washed up on the rocks
having choked on the sparrow
mouth a basket of red feathers
legs poking past its gills
Ben is laughing
the clouds bristle & begin to growl
guttural hurdles grind rigorous rain
Ben's voice is tangled in willow leaves
but he is gone
the turtle descends
I run to the house
it's moving farther & farther away


© J.R. Pearson



Poetry    Translations    Fiction    Essays   

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