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2 poems
Chris Barton

Chris Barton is from East Tennessee. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Maudlin House, Vagabond City, HAD, Hotel, MerGoat Mag, and elsewhere. He currently writes in Knoxville, TN, where he lives with one cat, a one-eyed dog, and one beautiful human. Find him on Instagram @chrisnbarton and Twitter @chrisnbarton.

rehearsal for the free trials end

I can explain. A sad pastry. A hymn of wet shoes
in the crowded supermarket. Negative capability
like a tree caged in a median, where love is a cloud
passing over the intersection of Death and My Peak.
The walk home and the mumbling rain cooly
asks, are we reborn too much in this world
or not enough? How expensive to think I want
another leaf, another plastic bottle—after all
my terrible decisions and the articles I've skimmed.
This charming deceit of individual moments
cascading into the ripe obscurity of a constant
now. I mean, what is a lie when it’s all
there is,
a lie and then some? You arrive, toenails intact,
another poet said. A line I pruned to navigate out
from the blue-green gist of the earth. Our inherited,
expiring, free trial lives. Here is a word for self that
means forget. Here is a word for pain that means
steal. Here is a word for end that means seed.
I can explain. September and people and the
absence of utopia. How we tilt our heads away
from the wind like we’re all rehearsing our
great belief that something comes next.


this refrigerator hums loudly tonight

All the raspberries
have molded in their
plastic jail cell I really
do feel older this year
Where do I put the
line break of my
inherited life? Here
on the couch my bare
feet and can of beer
and the finely calibrated
apocalypse Sunday
slightly richer
dark of early fall
I am not my mind
I am not my pinky toe
Somewhere in the
poem of the universe
is a finger gun
that restores us all
to our axiom
of eternal
form A bright light
just beyond the ajar
refrigerator door
If I could I would
scratch my forehead
with the nail of the barrel
always Don’t ask
if we make it, or
if we’re already there
The question is found
wherever we are going

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