a poem by C. Derick Varn

-for Ellie and Darcy

Spinning tires on Alabama Avenue,
the lilacs finally dying off in the late
summer swelter: I have avoided

this country’s laconic humidity
for the abrasion of the desert
these past two years. The damp

seems to bleach the air to withering
brightness, reminding me of some line
somewhere in Ecclesiastes. The South

seems to like its declarative sentences,
its sad stories about sadder stories, it’s
gas-bag narratives, it’s words, words,

words. Driving through Macon, I noticed
my fist is the size of a small blue jay,
but the finger’s flap and feel like the

most awkward feathers. Cicadas hum
in the dusk. The houses cracked paint
from disrepair, I notice through the glare

on the windshield in a neighborhood
that is not overburdened with cash for
repairs. The deciduous forests are gone

for the evergreen overgrown in fecund
soil, and I remember sleeping with a girlfriend
near here. A timid blowjob done

to Queen albums, and I ache from teeth
and sweet. My gum line bleeds in sympathy,
and I break a sweat like one breaks bread

with an enemy. I would offer you flat land
and a clear story, but we have rolling hills
and rolls in the hey. Emotionally dreading

the sounds other words, looking at the grass
as in the summer browning I could teeth ready
to bite, to enjoyed for the sake of the gift of pain.

Around here, the cloth sticks to you
and beer is consumed on porches and dance
halls. The risk is in loving anything

that can be shallowed in the slots between
teeth. Soon autumn will come and lay
about in afterglow, but I will be gone.

C. Derick Varn is a poet and teacher. He lives in Cairo, Egypt.  He has lived many other places.  He writes and edits.


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