Spring 2012

Table of Contents - Vol. VIII, No. 1


Poetry    Fiction    Translations    Essays    Reviews   

David Landrum


Wyatt’s Junction Truck Stop

It is a ruin now, lying five miles west
of Wyatt’s Junction, past the Mississippi bridge
and Cairo, where a black family came in—
man in a sports jacket and turtleneck—
a family better-dressed than us—but when
they walked inside the waitress told them they
could not eat there. My parents were appalled
and through the years they sometimes spoke about
the incident in gravest tones so that
when I drive past the old shell of that place,
I still remember. Cairo is a ruin.
A new bridge spans the river, bypassing
the town—and every now and then I go
to cross the old bridge and to drive that road
in a November sentimental mood
and for the sake of memory. I see
the shell of it, empty and grey as sky,
in late fall gloom and rain, a monument.


Blind Runner

Young, early twenties, with a guide, she runs
the greenery of summer: rows of trees
along the road, their branches overhead,
a canopy to shade the sweating pack
of runners pressing through the early day;
her shorts, her singlet, her expensive shoes,
the number pinned below her breasts the same
as all the others—but she wears a sign,
BLIND RUNNER, fastened to her back.
Her pace
is quick. Dark hair, tall, strong, her body trim
and yet so different since she does not use
her eyes to sense the world—she hears its sounds,
head angled to catch noise of pounding feet,
oncoming vehicles, the words her coach
(BLIND RUNNER COACH the sign on her back reads)
speaks to her: “Now we are coming to a curve,”
she quietly says. “We passed the two-mile split.”
She strains to hear the quiet cacophony
of competition, smells the sweat and stench,
the wet air of each runner’s breath, the cloud
of steam above the steady-moving pack.
Her body, lithe and powerful, reads the air,
the hot tarmac beneath at her feet, the scent
the other runners send out as they pass
or as she passes them, alert to sense
their different forms, trusting a different grasp
of what is all around her and of what
lies out before her where the race will end.


© David Landrum


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