Two Poems by Geoff Munsterman

The Young Ghosts Still Good Friends

Centuries old trees lean aching for the sun
like skinned-knee children for their mothers.
On the creosote posts, redwing blackbirds
dial their sneers to the pond mad with algae.
Only the dead know this place, the cemetery
private as the junkyard hides behind the tunnel—
tiles peeling each time a semi slices through.

Ears pressed tight against the scum-soaked tiles
rescues you from fates like kids rumpled like trash;
dead satellites flung down through the atmosphere.
Suck lungs in or else the wind could catch and drag
you down like tide. A battered size eight sneaker
shrinks behind shadows like a secret or reminder—
Hell’s little skill of showing you its fingerprints.

They don’t meet me where they died. Instead,
each one emerges from the levee wet,
lace trough blackberry patches ready to talk
like couples after fights. They’re willing to talk
if I’m willing to listen. Clinging to the swing set
that in summer sways unused except the dead,
always pleading—go higher! higher! higher!!

Road Trip

You purchase all your sanity cheap.
Cheese crackers, jerky,
                                         radio good
as the jukebox at your juke joint.
But twelve hours in, a travel mix
repeating for the umpteenth time
swerves thoughts to home.

Conjure your half-psychotic exes,
all the war scars earned in
the battle of the sexes.
                                        The stifling past
like sweat exits pores; with forearms,
wrists, and shirt sleeves stiffening
with wetness you wipe up what
memories you can. Let the rest
evaporate.

The long drive conjures that
tiny river town where you grew up.
Its lockup near the sleepy ferry
held two nursing scratches
                                               from a fight—
a slim-knuckled blue-eyed black girl
lances glass shards from slender forearms
while Elizabeth, the girl
                                          refused my prom invite,
rubs uncuffed wrist wounds.
Both likely there still
lancing infants’ ant bites,
refusing credit applications,
and rubbing strained peas
from chubby-cheeked kids.

All constrict in the rearview’s gaze
as the odometer’s twitching
extremities earns a reprieve
from people too inconsequential
to the outcomes of your life
to ever forget.
                         Traveling like this,
you are your life’s ship captain.
And even though it hasn’t
come up yet, you know
no matter what

you are going down with the ship.

MunstermanGeoff Munsterman’s poems have been featured in Poets for Living Waters, The Southern Poetry Anthology, story|south, The New Laurel Review, and Solid Quarter to name a few. His debut collection Because the Stars Shine Through It will come out Fall 2013 from Lavender Ink and he is hard at work on the follow-up, the book-length poem Where the Scars Wake. His shingle hangs in New Orleans.

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