The Benediction of Night
alarm clock LEDs flash,
the street light decides to sleep
as drunks trip over raised squares of
of Paxil withdrawals
crunch my brain.
Slimy night: a pulled curtain.
I only love you a little.
Scrunched blankets over an embarrassed head,
marsh night soaked in alcohol
A missing love night
passed out on the love seat;
a wrong med night
phlegming the brain with dopamine,
night collapsed in light.
Next morning, I will think the town
switched sides of the highway.
Porcelain night of unpainted
figurines lit in the craft shop window--
A one-way road to a railway roundhouse,
blazed with graffiti from LA.
A Union Pacific worker with a Cyclops headlight
eats jerky—a missing night:
I pray during a seizure
somewhere between consciousness.
Night arrested, sedated, given a pink washbin
full of issued hygiene products.
With enough nights, the sidewalk becomes
a historical site.
A bless-ed night
only a blessing of comfort
will silence the fright.
A Coyote night: terror aping around
the living room, and
a lost cellphone night.
I paged, called, and searched
under a sofa cushion
like the pet rabbit I once stashed/smooshed.
Part night, part
—recovery from night.
The Blame Game
Barbed wire told me long ago
you should have been protected.
The tears and blood in your clothes not
going through your temple undergarments
after you drove your snowmobile through
the cattle fence.
I would say you were like the sacrament,
but Jesus was never overweight.
It is impossible to run away from faith,
you said, as you moved to the mountains.
Each wasp, each caked salamander appearing,
each flower wanting attention,
all know I never told you to wear your seatbelt.
You can’t repent for murder.
Church taught me
you can never be absolved or cleansed
or sprayed by holy water back to normal,
so I can’t forgive the car, gas prices,
the new car you bought for me
to trade for my crumpled compact.
I can’t forgive ice, bad driving, or God
for moving the truck into the car,
head against window, neck trying
to decide which way to go.
The seatbelt couldn’t reach itself across
your gut, connect, stop, click-it,
or a kind of intervention.
The car can be scrapped,
temple garments cleaned,
still, each morning I wait
for a phone call from my brother-in-law:
There has been an accident.
Your dad has been brought back to life.
JEFF PEARSON is a graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA Program and has been published by Noble / Gas Quarterly, Black Rock & Sage, Otis Nebula, a capella zoo, Heavy Feather Review, Shampoo, Salt Front, Axolotl, and Moon City Review. His first chapbook Sick Bed was published by Small Text Dreams Press. In 2015 he was a finalist for University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Summer Residency Program judged by Eduardo Corral. He currently teaches in Northern Idaho. He tweets at @legoverleg.
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Issue 10 Playlist