I drift lightly through my city
with the sensibility of a tourist –
with a pace that crawls, as to not miss
a thing, head permanently cocked back at everything
familiar and new.
Buildings are a few feet taller and clouds
hang a bit lower. Each man and woman
more beautiful than they already are.
Babies gnawing on their halos while
the older children rack theirs against
passing iron gates.
Passing pedestrians at a packed crosswalk give
quick hugs, handshakes, and whispered words
of love accompanied by pats
on the back. Eyes are brighter
and the street musicians play.
The two main rival churches, side by side, have begun
their hymnals together with separate songs
of Calvary that intertwine and
dance into my room.
In the twilight of the day, the souls
of the dead join hands with their families
around dinner tables, after coming home
drunk from their own parties.
They linger around the kitchen telling
stories over cigarettes, mourning
lost recipes, and stand around
eating off limp paper plates
because there is nowhere to sit.
They sleep huddled where they once stood
and the morning light reveals the mess
they made, but the bodies are gone.
Stephen Turner is a second-year graduate student at Arkansas State University and is currently finishing his Master’s thesis, which explores the role of violence and cultural anxiety within Cormac McCarthy’s Border Trilogy. His emphasis area deals with Modern American Literature, and his academic interests include Contemporary World Poetry, Post-Colonial American Literature, Sound Studies, Cultural Studies, and Critical Pedagogy. His poetry has been featured in Arkansas State University’s The Tributary, The Rectangle, and Cantos.