by j.lewis


could it be this


that the meat of the poem

the sinews that bind the stanzas

the bones that keep the form intact

are only of interest because

the paper i come wrapped in

is itself so curiously ambivalent

that it begs to be peeled away?



a black line


eighty-seven years


in an effort to convince his parents
that a move to idaho was the best possible thing
their son said, in all seriousness, that it had been
eighty-seven years since the last time
one human ripped the life from another
in madison county


when they told me that, i wondered, so
fool that i am, as soon as i was home
i went to google and found that in 2012
there had been a grizzly
the details of which
i chose not to explore


just as i have ignored every suggestion
that i needed to move
to yet another place called
"god's country"



a black line


newman's own


organic cinnamon mints
tiger on the tin and *HOT*
in old-timey lettering


wrapper off and the tiger pounces
roars the scent of school days
back of the bus with a bottle
of cinnamon oil and toothpicks
soaked for days, made for dares


how many could you handle
at a time without choking
without coughing, without crying
winner gets another bottle
loses his taste buds for a week


loser goes home with tongue-blisters
breath that could melt steel
determined that as soon as his mouth
recovers he will take the trophy back


a black line

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