Thursday, August 6, 2020

Drunk Butterflies near the Missouri River by Mike James

for Jason Ryberg
 “nothing but your blind, stupefied heart”
        John Thompson 

Lord, even without belief, today is enough. A little chant I say to myself. 
Structured right, it is a hymn. Not even I like to hear my singing. 

Yesterday, I almost got lost going home. I wasn’t following the advice 
Of every teacher: Pay attention! I got through school. Got home. 

I drive when I’m lonely. Take a lot of back, dirt roads. Never found 
A collapsed bridge in any river. My luck. That’s what keeps me driving. 

It’s August. Heat takes up everything. I think of weather. Think of rain. 
Nothing changes. It’s still August. With or without the river. 

I’ve always lived beside a river. Never once hopped across on rocks. I distrust currents. 
Don’t like darkness moving fast or slow. Will walk a long way to take a good bridge.

I’ve heard every cliché about home is true. I’ll say that, smile stupidly. 
I don’t always watch how hard the wind blows. I keep going. I go. 

Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee and has published widely. His many poetry collections include: Red Dirt Souvenir Shop (Analog Submissions), Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken. 

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