For what in January’s good? They bought
Salvation Army trenches. Valence matched
the month. The pockets fit a sixer each.
Can’t leave without our cordials, Az would say.
They’d walk the barbican of fields and woods
to Stop n Rob for adjuvants then take
the sloughs. The snow their shoulderpads would inch.
The vestal plains, the blueing forestbourne,
the scribal prints of coyotes if seen
then fresh, the blood beneath chaparral, quick
the night to foil flakes. Her mom still out
they sit the kitchen, jerky cigs and hooch,
Acoustic Motherfuckers singalong,
The Burbs on black and white by toaster. Peace.
From floe to floe their days, their folks beneath
the turbid fen oft luridblooded: slips.
‘Carina!’ call demersal men to Bel:
her mom’s. The spit upleapt from dad the ice
at Az’s feet asizzles. Keeled sun’s
caducity abets then whets itself
upon the saw of radiorelays
while staid the moon for pogroms looks the bett-
er to ignore. The other’s lintel for
a spell that over can’t be left, returned:
forrader deasil withershins. The last
to livein trashed the dirty dishes. Bel
the cupboards opens, lights a candle, flicks
the lights. They smoke below the dark doorways.
The periapts of summerred against
the snow beneath impastoed sky where scrum
the graves untouched, too poisonous to die;
hummock of ronyonned sprue the déjà vu
of future forefelt meiotic: asks Bel
of Az, ‘You feel that now? The goose on grave?
It’s like our ghosts are in the trees, are there
all nettedup with substance, sick but there…
It’s gone. Let’s go.’ The cantillate of jays;
the tessellate of neighborhood so far-
away, its lamplit roofs and chimneyropes;
the purpled bourne of fieldend trees; the cigs,
the killall, handinhand: ‘I wish,’ said Az,
‘we could be walking opposite toward home.’
Joseph Harms’ fiction and poetry have appeared or will be appearing in Boulevard, The Alaskan Quarterly Review, IthacaLit, Out of Our, Poydras Review, Red Ochre Press, Lines+Stars, SPECS, The American Dissident, Bad Idea, The Ann Arbor Current and Writing Conference, Inc. Harms is currently seeking a publisher for his sonnet series Bel as well as representation for his novel Cant.