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Richard Boada



If nothing gold and you can stay,

I thought I knew from the wide


stretch of navy-black sky and sawgrass

so high and wild that we’d marry and guard

our youth, again. I’d be your


husband-sentinel, crouching in front

of heavy steel trailer axles, cleaning glass,


firing coal to blasphemous heat,

and blasting away shoulders

of meat like a matador with spears. 


There’s a riot on the radio, they’re not

the only ones with guns, blood-slick sauce


on my apron, and you, a fingerprint on my mind

like a crinkling paperback squaring against my nostalgia,

a fist in a glove ready to pop and pummel. I want


to be the lasting bloom,

the bombardier that holds back the lever. 



Sober, she pulls cigarette smoke dry hard

with wrinkled lips holding. Longer violent

ember races to the filter, snapping

thin paper reeling. Its crisp tobacco

disappears into her body, a way,


scattered through her nostrils against my taut

cedar-like neck. Craned, shaved smooth to my ears

because a jaw’s shape determines how well

you confess something sacred, how you hold your eyes

to other eyes in dark rooms. She’s lived in Mississippi


too long, with weightless air, and we dismiss

each other’s habits. A match filliped spit

light, our lips navigating, she holds the fire.




You flattened the bedspread on your side

with palms swift and no longer delicate,


militantly tucked a corner, and I pretended to sleep, curled

in the terror of who I’d become.  My waking


wouldn’t prevent the separation. Dresser drawers

cringed and squealed, no folding for the packing


suitcases tossed down the hallway like Olympic hammers.

Your body twirled for momentum and heft. 


There was the house and the longleaf pines wet

from fresh sleet-pack so thin and nearly invisible. 


The sedan gunned in reverse, you vanished and I

absorbed the improbably morning darkness. 

-from We Find Each Other in the Darkness (Texas Review Press), selected by Spring 2023 Guest Editor, Gerard Robledo

RICHARD BOADA is the author of two poetry collections: The Error of Nostalgia, nominated for the 2014 Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Poetry Award, and Archipelago Sinking. He is a graduate of the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poetry appears in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Urban Voices: 51 Poets / 51 Poems, Rhino, Crab Orchard Review, Poetry East, North American Review, and Third Coast, among others. Currently, he is Editor and Publications Coordinator of the Mississippi Legislature PEER Committee and teaches at Mississippi College.

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