GEORGIA HAD ANOTHER FOURTH QUARTER LEAD AGAINST ALABAMA
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
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
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'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.