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We did not make it to church this morning.

I hit snooze and a long streak grew longer.

The Devil wins by stealing seconds and minutes—

Paradise eroding as much in quiet inches

as from Category 5 storm surges.

We’re under a flood warning now. 

I’m streaming pop music instead of hymnals

and wondering how much will be lost in translation

if ever my children and grandparents 

should meet in heaven. Offensive coordinators

around here are known for being unimaginative,

giving rise to temper tantrums and torrential curses,

for not having kept up with the changing tides. 

I don’t think hummingbirds or buffalo were on the ark—


Is that the miracle? A couple weeks back, 

a school where I used to work 

hosted a Friday night football game

where two students were shot

in the parking lot during a power outage.

The victims did not attend the school.

They were from somewhere else,

and the shooter vanished into the night

like a passing storm dispersing 

into smaller and smaller threats. 

The reward offered for information has,

as far as I know, failed to produce

a body much less a name.


Later today my wife will shed tears

at the sight of a dead friend’s handwriting

sprinkled in the liner notes of an old music book

filled to the brim with songs from Godspell 

and not played since high school. I will be outside 

mowing the grass or running for daylight. 

Notes falling behind the horizon

Taking a Charge


If I blink,

I could still hear

the screeches 

cutting shapes 

in the hardwood. 

I am rooted. 

I am ready for impact. 

I am conscious

of how little I know,

and I am unaware of the will.

I am stone still

and floating in the pine

needles as my mother’s voice

lifts from the front porch.

She calls me down 

from the choices 

that have abducted me.

I am in the clouds.

I am in that band 

of the Milky Way.

I am looking over

my grandmother’s body,

her leg gashed open

from where my bike chain

gnawed into flesh—


she is a fish,

and I am a goddamn hook

stooped over 

the watery pit we dug

for a goldfish in first grade.

But I am also crouched over

a turtle shell of penny rot

by the railroad sleepers

in southern Virginia— 

the tobacco fields out

in the distance 

like old men I don’t know

calling me by name 

like family does. 

I am here. I am there—


in the current.


I am my teammates’ eyes,

and while I have a body,

I am disembodied.

I am branches and hands.

I am removed and moving 

toward the foul line.

One dribble. Two dribbles.

I can still hear 

that whistle blow.

I am here without

knowledge or reason.

I take aim. I let go.

I release. Hand to chest.

The impact made. That

heartbeat felt. That shock

of life in the evening sky. 

Bryan Harvey.jpg

Bryan Harvey's writing has appeared in Hobart & HAD, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Heavy Feather, Cold Mountain Review, Florida Review's Aquifer, and Bull. He lives and teaches in Virginia. He tweets @Bryan_S_Harvey when he’s not running.

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