It begins within the hinges of your heart,
the ferns and kudzu tangled wild as vipers
tearing at the bulwarks, birthed by the curses and the slaps:

Your rapid falling from Grace.

It flames and burns blue, orange, purpling pain.
Throw the words against the wall and hope they’ll stick.

Tripling a shot, your mind stones to the winter freeze,
how it whipped up through the cracks of the dogtrot,
the paring knife within your reach.
Maybe they didn’t know they would end up spent shells
of hollow rage in a downwind shanty.

You think you are done, the post-mortem rift of
dollar store flowers obscuring the angels,
applauding the tombs. But dead hearts
beat loud as drums
beneath the stones of the rebel dead.

Gayle Ledbetter Newby has been published in decomP magazineE, Gravel, Eunoia Review, Literary Orphans, Hiram Poetry Review, After the Pause, The Santa Fe Literary Review, and others.

Gayle is a retired teacher/social worker who divides her time between Arkansas and Mississippi.

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