The Oregon Trail calls its dead wife collect

& hangs up after the devil accepts the charges.
Sweat drips from the bile in my dead daughter’s
lungs. My dead son, he was a cloud & he still
is. But the gray he breathes scares me.
& what doesn’t scare me doesn’t exist.
& so & so & so I move on.

On to what? my dead wife’s sickness,
her ex-lover asks me. To the next touch,
I tell him, to the next poem, toward
the air that smells like the third fuck before noon.

There is a sign at the Kansas River crossing:
This way to hell. Smell the dysentery in the dirt.
You’re going nowhere & your wife never loved you.

I could live forever but why?
I could love forever but still, why?
The sign sighs while my dead son
opens his chest until the Kansas River floods
what I will never let be forgotten.

Gregory Sherl is the author of a novel, The Future for Curious People. This is an excerpt from a never written manuscript titled The Oregon Trail Is Still the Oregon Trail Is a Sequel to The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail.

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