“Scuffle Town” by Rich Ives

the year of locusts the hour of the further dust
a dark smudge of a man father dead
before the child was born and this

was father blocked and spiked
above the neglected memory weeds
a squared-off dog with shoulders like a mailbox

there’s room for any message you want to send

call this love a tablecloth and the old hunger sits politely
while anticipation carves up the redundant missionaries

Warning: Objects in Mirror May Appear Incapable of Harm

your pudding of irritation walks away with you
take away the neighbors take away the needles take away intention
take away newspapers and woolen sweaters take away the warmth of choice

punched tin ceilings bruised ice mouse in the kitchen sink

I invited the bird into my house and I broke him
if he bit you you’d have to marry him

Warning: Objects in Mirror Seem More Important Than They Are

the flood-line on the interior walls
appears to have been drawn by a tall angry child

Warning: Objects in Mirror Should Not Be Viewed in the Past Tense

some of the other women were not my woman
so I left them alone later after I didn’t leave them alone

what you had to say was not lit by your tongue

finally I learned to be who I was
indicating inadmissible evidence

Warning: Vehicles in Mirrors May Appear to Be Hungry

church of spider webs and fly husks
church of knowing what can be taken away
church of architecture and lesson
church of your body leading you

a milk bottle of wrens vibrating
between inside and netted capture
outside they still searched for
what they thought they had found

Warning: Approaching Victims May Appear Harmless

a little cloud-sweat falling to cool the blue
you fell behind yourself then
you wanted the boy on the road
to whisper greater temptation

Rich Ives is a winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander and the 2012 winner of the Creative Nonfiction Prize from Thin Air magazine. His book of days, Tunneling to the Moon, is available from Silenced Press, a fiction chapbook, Sharpen, from Newer York Press and Light from a Small Brown Bird, a collection of poems, from Bitter Oleander Press.

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