Skip to main content

William R. Soldan

That Night I Left Work with a Pocketful of Cash on Fire

and you went and fucked it up by taking a bullet
through your hand. You never watched
After School Specials, so never learned
not to do stupid shit. None of us did.
He’s in the ER, Juanita said, her voice
so flat and put-out, as if describing how the dog
had just pissed all over the rug again.

You’d been playing around with it,
.25 with the pearl grip and nickel finish,
lifted by some kid from the projects
from his grandma’s top drawer,
the way we did, passing it back and forth
in the lot by the tracks, killing time between
fathers and griefs.

You could still roll a damn fine joint
with your good hand bandaged,
its fingernails caked with dirt, the raw
and ragged hole, the rotten smell of it
like a body bloating in the sun, and after,
with the bones of your metacarpus
tenting upward, a miniature volcano
pressing against the puckered flesh.

It would never heal right, no feeling
but the dulling of dead tissue, the ghost
of the round ripping through it. It pulsed
with heat, you’d said of the night it had gone
off, like a glowing coal or a white-hot wire
stitched along your lifeline.

When the others came, later, penetrated
your breastplate with hot steel and black powder,
I imagined the birth of stars, a whole cosmos
swirling in your sternum. The Y-shaped incision
a question, a constellation.


William R. Soldan is the author of the story collections In Just the Right Light, Lost in the Furrows, and Houses Burning and Other Ruins, as well as the poetry collection So Fast, So Close and, most recently, the novel Undone Valley. You can find him on Twitter @RustWriter1 if you'd like to connect. He currently lives in Youngstown, OH, with his wife and two children.


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

Beneath the Chickenshit Mormon Sun by Bruce Embree

I've posted this before, on a depressing day probably just like this one. This poem makes me feel better. That's all I have to say on that. It turned out worse than I thought The champion defended his title then Eldridge Cleaver came on to talk about his reasons for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Grandma and I damn near fell out of our chairs Went to town and got crazy drunk Came back home, called you long-distance after cruising and drooling Mainstreet again This is my last wish and love poem It is as follows Want to hold the wake at noon with plenty of acid and rum No friends and relatives Ghost music by Hendrix and the Byrds drowning all sound as you fuck me to dust beneath the chickenshit Mormon sun. Links:  http://www.limberlostpress.com/authors/161embree1.html

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.