coming home for the census

Photo by Iulian Patrascu on

by Adelina Rose Gowans

issue 75

          sure, we went bloat-eyed and buzzy 
when the neighbors down rawl road waged 
     war with each other—christened their property
          line the two-way gates of heaven and built 

that barbed-wire fence to keep each other out,
                                       but that’s old news. 
          the iga’s stocking dairy-free yogurt 
     now. dogs and coyotes keep going at it in ditches. 
         even the seraphim living down in the trailer 
park bought a new american flag for their window, 

         six-winged bodies bursting with life 
whenever the gamecocks pull through with the win. 

                   you know what this is: 
the departure and undeparture, ms mary asking how’ve
      you been, honey and all the fresh-baked bread in the
 county wrapped in wax paper 
      and baling twine. 

i think i’m finally falling into like with the things i can’t 
change. say blackwater. say deus ex machina. say glock 42 
         with bubblegum on the trigger. 

            on saturday the neighbors peeled a doe out 
                         of the fence, first body of sacrifice, 
    and i recite every vacation bible school song
                             that makes me feel home-bodied. 
                 still, the astounding lack of street lights 

             turns our night sky into a halfway heaven, 
and i think about you every time i pass the sunflower fields.