“Outside Irondale” by Jesse Breite

Outside Irondale,

we bought our hearts
in recreational explosives,
lit them with the ends
of our cigarettes, and shot them
from car windows.

Out of gas on highway 78,
grass grew through tractors,
and blue jays watched.
Landry pulled and I shot
empty cans silver-speckled with a 22.

The wood linage was half-green,
half-spiked as desire.
Over boring fields, a blood fox
shimmied and bobbed.
The jars of corn liquor gone dry,
I bet Landry 50 bucks he couldn’t
hold an M-60 through the boom.
He lost a pinky and bent up his ring.

When the buzzards came,
their wings opened like glossy
brush strokes, sloppy with paint.
They cloaked themselves,
bundled in the pine branches.

What had died? We wondered
as we set the ’76 Mustang to fire.
Fed by breath and silence,
it burned with a star’s fury
beside prodigal constellations.


Jesse Breite’s recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Spillway, Crab Orchard Review, The Briar Cliff Review, and Prairie Schooner. He has been featured in Town Creek Poetry and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume V: Georgia. FutureCycle Press published his first chapbook, The Knife Collector, in 2013.

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