Note from the Editors

 

   SEEING RED 

    ENDU(RED) ADMI(RED)
    DESI(RED) WONDE(RED)
    RUMO(RED) ADO(RED)
    ENAMO(RED) INSPI(RED)
    DISCOVE(RED) SAC(RED)
    HUNGE(RED) WONDE(RED)
    EXPLO(RED) FEATU(RED)
    AUTHO(RED) SEA(RED)
    DA(RED) UNCENSO(RED)
    SOA(RED) ADVENTU(RED)

 

 

    


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Doing Paperwork on the Day of the Dead

 

Snowbound, carless, fire going, I peel open a bottle of milk.

For this is not the day to travel, to paint one’s face and body
like the skeleton beneath and parade downtown. No. Let those
who live in warmer climes, who have the energy for costumes
and late nights do that. Today there will be no fetching silver
from the Chinese kitchen cabinet or pouring a single shot
of mezcal & leaving it untouched on our wooden dining table
alongside wartime photos of Clarence, the gravy boat of Alice,
the high school yearbook of G.P. from 1932. Though I whisper
thoughts and occasionally prolong a stare. For this ceremony,
without ceremony, is tacit and can be conducted from the barstool
in view of the arctic outside. People die. Hopefully only after
they’ve lived enough to earn stories at family gatherings.
I’ve lived enough to know there’s no predicting anything.
My wife’s concussion, the sudden demise of my used Subaru…
Our cats, unconscious on the couch, know best in that they
do not know nor do they care what is coming. Later, when
the road is salted, I’ll remember the chains Granddaddy put
on his Subaru, a different model. The sound they made, and
him, when he got tickled. And what those sounds are like
without heirlooms to trigger their memory. Meanwhile,
my wife may continue sleeping and the wind will do what
it wants to do as often as it wants, inhabiting this frame with
force, then leaving, as if acknowledgment was all it wanted.
Not that there’s anything wrong with displaying heirlooms.
That we should be spicy enough to remain and pass through
enclosures; that I am salvaged from several past lives.

 

Eric Steineger teaches English at Mars Hill University. He is the Senior Poetry Editor of The Citron Review, while his work has been featured or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Tinderbox, and Absinthe Poetry Review. He is active with Black Mountain College Museum and Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara to help promote North Carolina's literary heritage.

 

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