Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from our favorite emerging writers
Reviewing the Victims on FindAGrave.com
Thirty-two thousand, five hundred seven days is what it took
to meet you, to meet
your grainy faces, the one-paragraph clippings
of your deaths on FindAGrave.com,
your marker-less plots spread across Ohio.
of this grass as the grass that did the work,
this grass, the carpet which drew blood to its fiber.
Here I was, walking in circles for years,
looking for poetry like a bright penny,
green wings of a dollar bill,
when you held it in the rigors of your mortis hand:
black hand, white hand, unburned hand,
hand that’s not a hand
but the webbing of collapsed scaffold.
Not poetry. Not a coin,
but hair ripped from the skull.
A Body Returned to His Family
The whole world, a lie, so why
which label him “car thief.”
He never stole a thing.
Returned to us, not
his body, but this charred heap
and red-black bones.
What they kept, some reason,
for themselves, was him
the jail. We know
he is stored in a sweatbox somewhere,
They will keep him for life,
also a lie.
Novena to Mary
We were judged, the dead by the living.
We were the fruit
split at the root of the tree,
the child which ruined the womb.
Hail, Mary, Mother of God,
the fires of heaven,
you wouldn’t believe.
You wouldn’t believe the fires of heaven
sprung upon us.
We were evil.
You prayed for us
that hour only:
Hail, John. Hail, Sherman. Hail, Gilbert. Hail, Pieto.
Hail, Pearl and Bud and Leroy.
Those beads which parted your fingers,
wax puddling the votive of your name.
Paul David Adkins (He/Him/His) lives in Northern NY. He served in the US Army from 1991-2013. Recently, he earned a MA in Writing and Oral Tradition from The Graduate Institute, CT. He counsels soldiers and teaches college students in a NY state correctional facility.