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death

Elegy for the Bully

You have always been nosebleed 
     and nail-bite, the spit-shined halls 
where you harvested us with your tribal 
     clang. Too long we saw your face 
in every shadow, felt the whole forest 
     await your arrival like a nagging frost.  

An Elegy for My Doppelgänger

Turner, a celebrity chef, wrote Brian Turner’s
Favourite British Recipes: Classic Dishes
from Yorkshire Pudding to Spotted Dick. He played 
drums for the horror-punk band Schoolyard Heroes,
played hockey for New Zealand in the sixties, lifted
the impossible as the eighth-strongest man in the world.

Impossible Bottle. By Claudia Emerson. LSU, 2015. 65p. PB, $17.95.

Ecstatic Sorrow

Claudia Emerson, who died in December 2014, had come to be known as a poet capable of revealing startling discoveries inside quiet, quotidian circumstances. Her poems are set mostly in Southern rural and small-town scenes, moments in ordinary lives that would normally elude anyone else’s attention.

© Carollynn Tice / dreamstime.com

Begin Cutting

Everywhere in the bleached walls of the laboratory—the sterile linoleum flooring, the burnished metal of dissection tables, the zippered white bags used to veil the dead, the gleaming instruments used to cut them open—I saw the landscape of a story into which I was being written.

Illustration by Gosia Herba

Worldly Goods

As far as Henry could tell she never seemed to wonder what it all amounted to or who she was becoming. Her thing with Henry was part of it, too. She liked him. He was her type. She said this in a way that simultaneously turned Henry on and gave him the feeling that he’d cleared a very low bar. 

Illustration by Gosia Herba

Your Father Would Be Proud

His father’s apartment, with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, Oriental rugs, and views of Central Park, filled Helen with longing. She had always imagined herself in New York. She had always wanted a claim to that city’s streets. 

Last City

June 25, 2014

Perhaps it is the matter of going outwhich bothers me. That you or I or someone we know will have to get up,wearing only the warmth of the memory of our clothes, and find an airy socketin the car-fumed street. They say it is possible, for those wh [...]

R. Wesley/Getty

Pain

My father was never one to complain. On the morning of the day he died, an ulcer he’d suffered from for years, and left untreated, ruptured and began to bleed. Two days later I met with the town coroner. He told me the end had been painless, that, as his life leached away, my father would only have felt increasingly weak and light-​headed. The coroner, trying to make me feel better, was lying.

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