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Postcards from Rainbow City [Poetry]

By Chris Mink

  • Like a new copper elbow she would bend at the middle
  • each summer, sleeve her pitching arm in farm tan,
  • and thread county lines through the whistle of her curveball,
  • and long ago a father and a son climbed the Cupola
  • to their own Earth’s orbit, and tonight at a dinner party Paul says
  • it was St. Peter’s Basilica, claims it was beautiful,
  • and the room becomes his coven.
  • Darkness rubs the windows out.
  • If anyone is going home soon tell them beauty is the mesquite
  • taste of an infield, that smoke so impossible to locate,
  • Copenhagen protects the secrets of cleat marks, their red clay
  • or day’s end or how the sun will tell it with a lazy late afternoon drawl,
  • clear its throat in shadow across the primitive geometry of baseline.
  • Tell them some things are given.
  • Tonight we talk of ancient sculpture in motion, drink Malbec
  • from thimbles while Paul says things like magnificent, mumbles stunning,
  • and my own rooted uselessness on second base is not what is
  • remembered, but that Willa McGrath had a windup pivot
  • atop that pitchers slab predictable as molasses, as the one caution
  • cross light yellowing in rage is a hanger for Carhardt hats
  • turned backwards, is brim-filthy with fish hooks.
  • Paul and his three-piece daddy world travelers,
  • Willa whose daddy was a rodeo man built by Bondo and bull hoof,
  • Willa who got caught fucking her stepbrother in the garage
  • while her mama got the vodka out, and we revere globe hopping
  • while Willa pours concrete now back in Rainbow City.
  • I haven’t seen her since we were kids.
  • I have never been to Europe, I tell Paul, like the closed sign
  • flickers on a slash pine outhouse. I try my damndest not to say y’all,
  • not to speak in the coal-rough diction that raised me, each verb
  • carelessly welded to the next. There are fountains in the Piazza,
  • they say, so loud every building feels as if it’s crumbling around me,
  • and I’m stuck in the boyish fiddle
  • of baseball diamond, lost off in a dream with Willa grown
  • and home after shoveling what’s called the green mud.
  • She fists a dirtied ball down and down like a hammer
  • into her daughter’s catchers mitt, a leather echo, a sound
  • absent in any brush strokes we admire on this wall, not one
  • beater truck rendered in stone, not one scent of glove oil
  • in all these fair trade candles, not a mama McGrath
  • screaming herself blind at a centerfield fence,
  • tongue begged out like the reddest magnolia petal stretched to its end.

 

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Chris Mink is currently a PhD candidate at Florida State University. His work has appeared in The Greensboro Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Harpur Palate, and Anti-, among others.


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