Issue 22 | Summer 2019

Light Expectancy

My visions go erotic, then cynical. Paisley crawling on a window. I was a shit-list and snuck skeleton keys into whiteness and when I hit the woods I got lost. Shame became my monstrous after-shave. The self took up its evil cross. Each swing-set was its own set of problems that manifested in the drinking of mom-and-pop pesticides and the destruction of totality. In the living room with a hearth built in its floor a clang from a rusty string. In the kitchen a clang from a churn a clang from heuristic vomit. Goats tarried in the yard. An open space, an awakening. The sun shot through the windows and onto the carpet. It made the room feel like a slow drifting. Minus the miles what can we miss of the maternal. It was normal to shuck off boots and swim in kerosene. It was normal to spew onto the ground. It was normal to bling art and art education the dark circles around the eyes of artists, photographs from the movies. Pine walls kept me from the snow, isolating me with noise, so when I sprawled onto the blue surface I knew what the art songs captured with their artiness. Half-moon of snow—half now, half later. Sunspots haunt the tiles and advertise the comfort of a pill. Fully baptismal before the first mist of cologne. Kick the ground, expose loam. It smelled like rain. A vision, visages, frayed cloth at the ball field. Touch my optic nerve with a wasp. Touch my spine with alcohol. Touch my penis with a whooping stick. Touch me with Nair if it’s gone wooly. I was a planetarium of sacrotuberous images less related than you might think. If I visit the objects, they look at me with worn faces, smell of camphor and pine, the locust and cedar fumes. Work this morning became a wasting. I was in the bioturbation in the dog pen looking for my hernia and shooting out truck windows. I said glow on. Billboards loom with their seductive indigos. The highway a pebble beneath.

Filed under: Poetry

Clay Cantrell holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Memphis. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Sycamore Review, New Delta Review, Birdfeast, The Journal, and elsewhere. His MFA thesis, Hermit, Wraith, was a finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award. A full-length book, The Landfill Poems, was published by Red Dirt Press in 2016. A chapbook, Spooling the Luminous Junk, was published by BOAAT Press in 2017.