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William Soldan

Missoula

1.

Rolled in late and slept beside a Taco Bell, woke up
dried out and soaked, gasping with the windows closed.

First coffee, then our sense of direction, looking for labor,
meet a trio hoofing off a main drag, tell them to tag along,
soon headed west to that city of rain.

But then a cold case and respite on the brambled bank,
a patchwork gaggle passing-through from every point:
kid from New York going to or coming from,
can’t hold still to tell the tale, and some woman calling herself
Iron Butterfly, maternal with sandwiches and soup, passing around
papers and a pouch of moist shag. A Scorpio named Cula singing
Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida Baby like some primitive mating call.

Later, a guy named Doc with knotted locks knocks out
a dude named Buddha, makes him bleed beneath a sliver of summer moon,
while a girl with a drum hangs upside down by her knees in a tree, laughing.

His farewell bid alliterates
in the distant hills:

Best ‘member me, Muthafucka.

2.

Wake in a field of flattened grass, bodies sprawled
around smoldering ash, the sun searing its arc toward midday.

Someone says, Shit, then, C’mon, then, Hurry.





Cheyenne

A between hour between things,
dark night of the soul hour,

hour of the wolf.
A van rambling bald Bridgestones

through unseen prairies,
static stringing broken blues

and cracked, early morning hallelujahs.

East toward central time,
time-travelling on land,

cash-wise tapped, coins
and a few wrinkled bills,

sunk and hungry, tank burning miles,
miles gone and miles calling.

No condition.
For any of this, sleepless.

Almost Christmas and the world
is brown and brow beaten

ghosts coast into gravel and
neon light.

A bite, a steaming cup
before they go bust.


William R. Soldan is the author of the story collection In Just the Right Light and two forthcoming collections, Houses Burning and Other Ruins and Lost in the Furrows. His poetry has appeared in venues such as Gordon Square Review, Jelly Bucket, Night Music Journal, Neologism Poetry Journal, and others. He lives in Youngstown, Ohio, with his wife and two children.



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black swans i almost didnt see
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red as sumac- they didnt match
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