7.01 / January 2012

Two Poems


listen to this poem

More like autumn than autumn is.

Settling gravel and moonlight, and a campfire
feels its way into the dark.

They used to burn coffee to cloak
the scent of death.

One little two little three little.

Bike racks. Fire hydrants. And all the little boys
allowed outside

unwatched after school.

The skeletal remains of a rat, a red-eared slider-

lost, percussive-

a young child with a cape
tied round his neck.

Loneliness is solitude
with a problem.


listen to this poem

Through our ears we perceive the world

My son-my son, my god:
I don’t think I’ll ever make a more egg-like figure

When I define the self I define two people touching,

one person leaving

An overflowing river, hence, a rapid flood

Two people touching: I can’t look at them
both at the same time

What is meditation

How is the divine

and what can I do about it

Ripe cherries on a Michigan cherry tree,
a coat hanger on the bathroom floor

in the dark under my foot under my breath

I cuss and I cuss and I hear myself

I see myself in the mirror cussing,

in the kitchen cooking quiche or
pitting fresh cherries or teaching my daughter

to peel the perfect orange

Once, I dreamt a suburb

Gary L. McDowell is the author of American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010), winner of the 2009 Orphic Prize for Poetry, and he’s the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His poems and essays have appeared in various literary journals, including The Bellingham Review, Colorado Review, The Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, Mid-American Review, New England Review, Ninth Letter, and Quarterly West. He’s an assistant professor of creative writing at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.
7.01 / January 2012