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by Clay Cantrell

I while in a brick house each night
dying dumb, taking in winter’s itch.
I’m ripe at thirty, woman miscarries,
gone as spring redbud. The region,
sparse but for buckthorn,

curls nice in corn whiskey. Dark
on the holly and dark on the baby
down the pipes. Red clay films
boot heels below the poverty line.
I pace the night or pick banjo

for hours, the family limb splits
its base shoot. Melancholy is real
as a bluegrass tune. Oh baby mine.
Night becomes a hearth to repent
my spent dimes. Slow time expires. 


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