Winter 2019 Poetry

Collin Callahan

The Backwash of the Dead

for Matthew Schumacher 

 

Insects scritch
in soybean stubble.
On a lost bet
you paw the detached
two door for gasoline
canisters while I muffle
the omnipresent stench
of a cereal plant
with another stale cowboy
killer. Cystic acne
sandhills spew fire ants
in the pale stadium
between our headlamps.
We get high
off playing God
while the shapes
of our mothers shrink
wrap funeral ham
above the granite island.
His breathing
machine in the corner
like a child
who refused to eat.
Man up, boy
he would say—
pointing at a plate
of cottage cheese.

 

 

 

 


Collin Callahan was born in Illinois. His poems have appeared in Denver Quarterlycream city reviewThe Bitter OleanderHobart, and elsewhere. Collin holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at Florida State University.

 

 


 

 

  © Ninth Letter, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.