archives winter 2009



There Was No Funeral

because death doesn’t stagger, it walks
on arched toes, hangs sheets
over mirrors,

because soon the house will fill with no one
who saw you lift your skirt, wade
into ether, 

because I will undress the bed, thread
by thread,

because I still have business
in this world. 

            Shirl Brunell (1934—2006)


            —after the Journal of Daniel Pilkins,  Blacksmith Apprentice, 1889

Sweet devil of my mouth, you strike me like slow lightning,
drag ravaged twilight behind my eyes.  Sugar cube,

crepuscular angel, O my filthy licorice:  uncorked,
you’re the fiddle music of my youth, the cure

I took for broken bones when, dared, I scaled
the church steeple and fell.  Laudanum,

the doctor said, lowering the spoon.   After that,
my thumb was always under my hammer’s aim.  Cuts, bruises—

everything craved your tinctured kiss:  Mother’s long finger
dipped in the yoke of the bottle, touched to my expectant tongue.  


Ash Bowen holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas. His work has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, and elsewhere.