They Were Inside Praying When They Heard a Thump

Fiction By May 26, 2016 Tags:

He was a good sheriff for three seasons of the year, but in the winter he would lock his guns in a cedar chest and sit in his office and drink whiskey. Nothing much happened in the winter, and maybe it was the boredom that made him drink so much.

One February, though, someone stole a horse from Fat Ned Chamberlain. I saw the sheriff ride off that afternoon slumped in the saddle like a sack of feed. At sundown, he came back with Ned’s horse and a body, which he dumped on the steps of the First Methodist Church.

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Elegy

Poetry By May 26, 2016

Muster here you mighty, you men who’ve earned the name
We gather in the great hall, to greet a hero bold
With shining shields the honor guard, shall safeguard one whose fame
Has vouchsafed with his valor, a vault among the old

For Tyler Doohan

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Bird Day

Poetry By May 26, 2016

She looks at the odd light and asks,
Dad, am I dreaming?
And then she teaches
Me more about birds.

This morning I saw a killdeer
In the parking lot at work.
It tried to draw me away from its eggs
By pretending to be injured.

I looked at the odd light and thought
Am I dreaming?

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Limerick: Emergency Poet

Poetry By May 26, 2016

This evening, this light, and your laugh,
All deserve a fine epigraph.
So quick, call a poet!
Hurry, don’t blow it!
After dusk they charge time-and-a-half.

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A Not Quite Storm

Poetry By May 26, 2016

The gym class voice from the
airport (or is it the bus depot?)
interrupts the regularly scheduled
thunder to deliver its nightly warning
like one of those psychedelic
bull horn shouts from a Beatles
album where you can’t make out
a word of what Paul is saying
but you know what he is trying
to say somehow, some magic way
of hearing that works just fine if
you don’t try too hard.

And what Airport Paul is saying tonight
is the same thing he says every night, Brain:
The weather will be severe and I
should go inside. Consider me warned
Paul, but the weather is severe more
often than not and I think it’s a hell
of a show so I’ll stay put and watch through
my own smoke at the rain hitting the leaves and
listen to the kids screaming inside and the sirens
screaming up on the highway and hope that no one
is hurt.

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Armistice

Poetry By May 26, 2016

I am alone on the porch
except for you, little girl–
we are the only two around
who enjoy this soggy heat.

You land on my ankle,
and begin your preparation–
the ritual passed down
from your ancestors.

I begin my own rite,
the snap of my lighter–
a flame that slices the
velvet curtain of night.

My smoke languishes
in the heavy, wet air–
and sinks down, enveloping
your cellophane wings.

What can we do about this
little warrior, ancient enemy–
we who have killed so many
of each other’s kind?

That rare and subtle flavor
you taste is called pity–
carry it into the night
and start a pandemic.

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To the Driver of a Passing Car

Poetry By May 26, 2016

If I can hear your stereo down here on my porch,
then the volume must be loud in your car.
Loud enough to rattle your windows,
if you have a subwoofer.
(And I bet you do.)

I wish that I could stop your car, just a for a moment,
an old hatchback with bad brakes and new rims, maybe.
To read the face of 2015’s greatest Ricky Martin fan,
to see if you are living la vida loca.
(And I bet you are.)

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