The bandit John Murrel complained
about his bed -tick stuffed with corn
shucks, noisy as a new saddle!
In the end, weary, his mind broken,
he stumbled out the prison door
back into green wilderness,
mimosa and orange tree, never
to gloat again by candlelight
or brown whiskey. The owl outside
my own window begs for his life
in strange cold notes that crease
the will to a mere document, a legal
prayer. It’s too late to finish
what we started. No gray mouse
expects to ride so high, the night
gaping—a sudden cavern. The owl
lays a vertical table. Everything
born wants to eat. Hear
the red blare of the trumpet flower
hedging its bets in this mythical town.
Kathleen Kirk is the author of eight poetry chapbooks, including The Towns from Unicorn Press. Her poems appear in such print and online journals as Stirring, Redheaded Stepchild, Waccamaw, Nimrod, Poetry East, and Atlanta Review. Her Patricia Dobler Award-winning poem, “Fox Collar,” is just out in Voices From the Attic. Kathleen is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.Alex DiFrancesco is a multi-genre writer who has published work in Tin House, The Washington Post, Pacific Standard, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The New Ohio Review, Brevity and more. In 2019, they published their essay collection Psychopomps (Civil Coping Mechanisms Press) and their novel All City (Seven Stories Press), which was a finalist for the Ohioana Book Awards. Their short story collection Transmutation (Seven Stories Press) is forthcoming in 2021. They are the recipient of grants and fellowships from PEN America and Sundress Academy for the Arts. They are an assistant editor at Sundress Publications.
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