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Note: Poem includes Appalachian diction

Your mama, in a flinty-colored dress.
My daddy, shaved to silver stubble
in a shiny suit. Thought we’d be stuck

till they was dead and buried. Look
at the shape of things: an arrowhead and
bullet getting married. Stand clear

and let the preacher handle ‘em.
They won’t take long to fire their
I-do’s. When that deed’s done,

pass by the store-bought cookies,
sherbet punch, and pickles wrapped
in ham—there’s whiskey in my truck,

and Daddy’s guns. Brother,
ain’t we free to fly?  I done my time
as whipping boy—you, too. Drink

some of this. Pick out a cloud and pull
the trigger back. Watch buckshot scatter,
disappear. Get out of here like that.


Sean Kelbley lives on a former state experimental farm in southeastern Ohio, in a house he and his husband built. He works as an elementary school counselor. June is his favorite month for travel.

© 2022, Sean Kelbley

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