Truck Driver

He drives a truck. Eats at laybys

swigs down the daylight. Sometimes

he tilts his head lets out a snore

 

to fill the cab. He pulls things he will

never buy. His phone stays on mute

so he can watch migrating birds

 

as he drives down bones of tarmac.

Sometimes he goes to Burger King

or Costa. Burps on leaving.

 

He said he hates driving told his wife

over the phone. She told him to work

until he dropped. They argued for years.

 

He got home early one shift and found

a car on his drive. Then he realised

his wife was his neighbour.

 

He handed in his notice, got a divorce

and a new job in a bakery. Moulded

dough until his fingers ached.

 

Today he lives next door to his neighbour

passes her croissants over the fence.

But they never speak as she preferred

 

him being a truck driver.

 

Gareth Culshaw

 

Gareth lives in Wales. He had his first collection published, The Miner, by FutureCycle in 2018. He is currently doing an MFA in Creative Writing at Manchester Met. He has been nominated for Best of the Net. Gcwculshaw AT moonfruit DOT com

Six White Feathers

Something happened here.

Beneath this tree, a pigeon’s worth

of feathers lies scattered among stones.

In the dazzling desert light, six white

 

strong-shafted quills designed for flight

catch my eye. I bend to pluck them,

take them home. Blocks away, near

her old apartment, hawks nest. Sometimes

 

I pass for a view of those high branches

that leaf and lose their leaves,

for a glimpse of hawks,

for a longer walk and the long run

 

of memories we made. But why save

these six feathers? A pigeon became

a raptor’s meal—that’s the story

I imagine—and why commemorate

 

a death I only guess has happened?

A souvenir is nothing but a wish

to preserve the evanescent,

a pretense of permanence.

 

Take, for instance, a seventh feather

I spotted as we stood sealed, embracing

beside a train. All the colors of ash,

it had come to rest between the rails.

 

I warned her not to reach

beneath the wheels to pick it up,

though she hadn’t moved to leave

my arms. Soon, the train would roll

 

away, but for now there was no

danger. So I let that feather go

and wisely made the most of one last

chance to hold her close. Now

 

six feathers lie scattered on my desk:

not the pure white I detected from afar,

not the white silence of a blank page

in the face of a myriad unasked questions

 

and too much left to say, but white

smudged pale gray at their tips and edges.

Still I keep them, to spite their lack

of meaning and the way they take me

 

back to a mid-October day, a train

on a westbound track, a woman I call

love, who promised nothing, and a lone

pigeon feather, gone. Lost forever.

 

Marisa P. Clark

 

Marisa P. Clark is a queer writer from the South whose work has appeared in Apalachee Review, Cream City Review, Foglifter, Potomac Review, Rust + Moth, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere, with work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Nimrod, Epiphany, and Evening Street Review, among others. She was twice the winner of the Agnes Scott College Writers’ Festival Prizes (in fiction, 1996; in nonfiction, 1997), and Best American Essays 2011 recognized her creative nonfiction among its Notable Essays. She reads fiction for New England Review and makes her home in New Mexico with three parrots and two dogs.

Damnatio Memoriae

To resist through nonviolence, yes—

I’ll do what the data says is wise.1

But to love is another matter:

I may wave the flag, but I am no patriot;

Is it not better to burn what they betray?

 

If the house is rotten, I leave it to the carpenter

To destroy or Reconstruct. I am fine with either.

Yes, nothing grows without rot—

No rich soil, no history to study and to learn—

But the illiterate draw their own lessons, wield

Their own weapons.

I have run out of words of outrage.

 

One day there will be monuments

To tell of this dangerous time:

What structures will the architects design?

What wild rantings will the walls inscribe?

 

I am no thief. All that is mine is mine.

Shall I first confiscate this epoch,

Make it mine to censure or delete? 2 3

What of the graffiti I may not find?

The encrypted hard drive I can’t erase?

The yard signs yet to decay…?

 

No, it would take millions to do the job.

We, redeemers of what—an idea?

Nearly half the population?

 

At Appomattox no treaty was signed,

For there was no truce to be had:

Democracy always teeters between deliverance

And decay…

 

My greatest pleasure in overcoming this trial

Would be to never have reason to relive it.

 

1 Robson, David. The ‘3,5% rule’: How a small minority can change the world. May 14, 2019. BBC. <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world>

2 Robey, Tracy. The Long History of ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ and the Destruction of Monuments.  August 16, 2019. Jezebel. <https://pictorial.jezebel.com/the-long-history-of-damnatio-memoriae-and-the-destructi-1797860410>

3 [3] Bond, Sarah. Erasing the Face of History. May 14, 2011. The New York Times. <https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinion/15bond.html>

 

Andy Posner

 

Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.