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West Hell

ISSUE:  Winter 2004

Sin, thy name is this
wait—this place—
a long ways from Here
to There, from where

last we were
in love, or lust, or not
even close. It’s hot
most the year

& by noon this town shuts
doors, down, the bass
burrowing in the bot-
tom—even our mudfish

with nowheres to go.
The days dry as envy,
we trawl the shallows
& perfect our lies—

the morning’s catch we could
have landed, the ladies
or mens jealousies
we wear as badge, avoid

not at all. How humid
the heart, its messy
rooms! We eat spicy
food, sweat like wood

& smolder like the coal
mine that caught fire
years ago, yet still smokes
more than my uncle

who will not quit—
or go out—


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