Memories from the uncoiled exterior. 

The ones with sharp familiar names  

playing Gray Fern among 


billowing tents and pool fires. Red wax 

dripping

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 

upstairs changing 

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 

in irregular 

statuesque poses. 


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 

sweeping in  


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

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