“Listening to the doves in Alfred, Georgia, and having neither the right nor the permission to enjoy it because in that place mist, doves, sunlight, copper dirt, moon — everything belonged to the men who had the guns. Little men, some of them, big men too, each one of whom he could snap like a twig if he wanted to. Men who knew their manhood lay in their guns and were not even embarrassed by the knowledge that without gunshot fox would laugh at them. And these “men” who made even vixen laugh could, if you let them, stop you from hearing doves or loving moonlight. So you protected yourself and loved small. Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own; lay down with head twisted in order to see the loved one over the rim of the trench before you slept. Stole shy glances at her between the trees at chain-up. Grass blades, salamanders, spiders, woodpeckers, beetles, a kingdom of ants. Anything bigger wouldn’t do. A woman, a child, a brother — a big love like that would split you wide open in Alfred, Georgia. He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose — not to need permission for desire — well now, that was freedom.”
Two different snakes, from Lauren Napolitano.
Annie Baillargeon, from the (unsettling) collection, Les natures mortes.
Excerpt from Dear Friend by Dean Young:
What happens when your head splits openand the bird flies out, its two notes deranged?You got better, I got better,wildflowers rimmed the crater,glitter glitter glitter.We knew someone whose father diedthen we knew ourselves.Astronomer, gladiator,thief, a tombstone salesman.All our vacations went to the seathat breathed two times a daywithout a machine.We got in trouble with a raftdoing what we promised not to.Further out to be brought further back.