Memories from the uncoiled exterior.
The ones with sharp familiar names
playing Gray Fern among
billowing tents and pool fires. Red wax
across upraised fingertips
in the mist season.
The elms creating
nets of aqua-blue
light across this last shed.
I remained behind the burlap, waiting,
the older ones
into their ashen party rags.
Underworlds with their gardens of soft
glass and bleeding tendrils, spines of
ticklish green, stones crooked
in the membrane light.
Amphitheater of blank silk scrims
with shadows behind
I couldn’t drive yet, no one could,
but we perched on the hoods
with summer hours
away. Others in the garden’s shade
were with us.
Smoke rising near brick tombs. Lukewarm
beer and weeds numerous
as eyes. A frosty emerald mood
gelling. Long violet rains
and carrying out.
Bio: James Pate has taught at Shepherd University since 2010. He has been published work at Black Warrior Review, New Delta Review, storySouth, Occulum, Superstition Review and Berkeley Fiction Review, among other places. His collection of essays on contemporary Gothic poetry, entitled Flowers Among the Carrion, was published by Actions Books in 2016. His novel Speed of Life was published by Fahrenheit Press in 2017. His story “Aunt Helena” is forthcoming in the Midnight in the Witch’s Kitchen anthology (Alban Lake Publishing). @James__Pate
Image: Ricardo Fissore