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Faith Ellington

Downsizing


Blue wheelbarrow belly thick with ice

Layers of photographs frozen warped

Stacked all but invisible under translucent

Ice except for one. Recto: gangrenous corpse

Middle-aged man bloated purpled

At least 72 hours gone, burned by a son

With a penchant for arson and patricide

I think. My father can’t remember anymore

All the polaroids in evidence old case photos

Blown up and printed on poster board for

Courtroom sessions. He either clinched a prosecution

Or didn’t. So many years, so many Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs.

Now we are left to dispose of the evidence:

Burn, shred, freeze. Some copies are still on file

Some copies ashed in our fireplace some copies

Frozen in our wheelbarrow waiting for thaw waiting

To be congealed then dried out and scraped pulpy like

Confetti into a trash bag placed on the curb come one Monday

In spring.


Hitchhiker [Ghost]


Sit right beside me and we are hitchhiker, ghost.

State lines speed limits blur as we tip

Into Indiana, Illinois. Midwest winter glittering

Harsh under gray sun. Undereyes violet grip

The steering wheel with windchapped knuckles

& stare at the number on the house, reconciled with

+1 (309)-XXX-XXXX. Car heater dries out our mouth

There was nothing I could do to save you then, but now

We turn the radio low, we have to make a decision.

Lights on in the house can either of us feel

Justified through cracked frost on the windshield.

I used to sleep in Walmart parking lots

So I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit.

Snow sticks. Time evaporates. Winter pools at our feet.

Baseball bat / slashed tires / crowbar / bloody knuckles /revenge fantasy

House door opens & outside of us he smokes under the porchlight

We sit side by side & stare at the end of the story

We know: turn the car around & go home.

 

Faith Ellington is a PhD candidate at Louisiana State University.





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