-after Gil Stuart


To say nature is your church is a gross and understated

thing. It’s no wonder you don’t believe in heaven. What


could be more beautiful than a barn spider devouring

a moth on your own soil or the orbit of satellites


in your still yawning sky? You say you won’t care what happens

after you’re wearing your wooden overcoat, but you’re not pushing


up daisies, old man. You can’t get off that easy. You are the lining

of our skin, the leather pelt underneath sweat and fur. I could


sharpen a razor on any one of us and there would be no blood.

Your stubble sanded all that away in hello/goodbye pinpricks


of stars on our necks. Stars that brand to freckles as we grow old.

You are swimming hole water too deep in our ears at wintertime,


cold enough to turn to snow, to leak out as fat flakes underneath

fingernails and gums. No pick in the world could dig you loose


all the way, so if we have children, know this: you might as well

be carved out of knee caps and elbows.

Kimberly Dawn Stuart's work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + MothLouisiana Literature, Barren Magazine, and Deep South Magazine, among others. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, the writer Marley Stuart, where they direct the small press River Glass Books.