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Carrion Poem

1. The cop went through her desk drawers, discovering yellow pills and white pills,
plastic roses, strings of imitation pearls. 2. She paced on the porch, listening to the puppy
bark next door. 3. Angels probe our faces with meaty fingers, brushed our shoulders with
meaty wings. 4. The Volkswagen circled the abandoned mall. 5. Midway through the
film, she swallowed the violet tablet, her mouth enormous in the dark. 6. Crisp leaves
clung to their limbs as the vultures lifted, carrying them. 7. The cop pressed his head
between his mistress’s legs behind the dance club. 8. He barked at them from the porch.
9. A leafy Wisconsin retreat. 10. The angels shave us, our eyes blank as quartz, our
muscles like unzipped satchels. 11. The truck circled the vacant park. 12. The closing
credits were in a forthcoming language. 13. Vultures, Astroturf, and watermelon pulp. 14.
She paced on the roof of the car, eyeing the sky. 15. The Volkswagen plowed through
the store window like a prized wing. 16. She blamed it on the antiphonal barking, among
other things. 17. The cop kicked the old man in the bathroom stall inside the dance club.
18. Angels decorated their hair with weeds and daisies. 19. Carrion, plane shadow, and
plateau. 20. She. 21. The cops.

Lyric Poem

1. Some poems end with cats clawing through rosebushes, fluttering wings in their
mouths. 2. I drank the sangria in the beer garden, sirens howling down the street. 3. The
photos the detective showed her were fuzzy, hard with watery light. 4. Some poems start
with a man pulling himself down the street, an arrow in his thigh. 5. Papery seagulls
glided in her soul, over pebbled beaches. 6. The detective took her to the tree where the
noose continued to sway. 7. She recited the poem in my bad ear. 8. Men chased each
other around the indoor pool, whooping. 9. I was the only one in the stadium, among
the upper bleachers. 10. He paid her to watch him as he dressed for his father’s funeral.
11. We would later call it “the sangria party.” 12. They jogged through the suburban
mansion, wearing only their white driving gloves. 13. Cats, plush carpets, and seagull
feathers. 14. The detectives wore straw hats to the picnic. 14. Snakes, in pails of milk. 15.
Roach blood on window shades. 16. Various illegible pleasures. 17. I drank coffee near
the pinball machines, watching street dogs battle in the garden. 18. Expansion, dilation,
extraction. 19. She swam out, to where all she could hear were planes. 20. Paper lanterns
lit the crash site. 21. Buzzing stadium lights.

James Pate currently teaches in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. His work has appeared in Action Yes, La Petite Zine, storySouth, Cream City Review, Black Warrior Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, and Blue Mesa Review, among other places. The Fassbinder Diaries, his collection of prose poetry, was recently published by Civil Coping Mechanisms.