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The Kinloch Rivers Memorial Prize

Brian Slusher

No Children: List

No Children

The full moon blooms,
a chrysanthemum of light.
I sway on a granite outcrop, hug
myself as my breath steams a
warm calligraphy I can't decipher.
I invent translations: fatal touch,
broken rattle, bleeding wind.
I exhale the epic of a failed
hero while you trespass the rim
of this old quarry, kicking rocks
into the frigid water far below.
They cut most of city hall
out of this pit, plus churches
and the orphanage that sits
abandoned off Route 6, but now
it's just a place to dump refrigerators
or for local kids to drink and feel
each other up. You might slip,
drop into the pool's pearl lens
and fade like an old print
in a bath of amnesia. The air
feels made of silver needles
stitching thoughts all over me.
The mist rolls in, and you
seem a bride, laughing
through a veil of furious ice
while I give up ghosts
for the sky's adoption.

No Children: Text
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