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Pastoral Before Decomposition.

 I imagine it lovely, the place he was killed,
imagine darkness as clear as it was before God
learned to speak, imagine the Milky Way burning
through the light-stained night, imagine trees blacker
than the sky, and then imagine cicadas bruising April.
The cold was crisp, I imagine, and scooped out stale
carbon dioxide in his alveoli. One of those good pains.
My imagination wants to redeem the bareness of fact,
so I imagine the field he died in as a place we might
have picnicked, imagine wind entering his clothes
and leaving again--not the knife. No. I will only imagine
the way the cars versed themselves in curve and velocity
through the arterial streets. Not how the men took turns,
not the way his body proved to the medical examiner
that he struggled, lifted his hands to defend himself--
no, I imagine the grass, how it must have nodded along,
how his phone lit up with a blue light blinking, blinking
at the driver who stayed behind, his thumb brushing
the red END
 from the screen like wiping an eyelash
from his lover's cheek. I imagine her, only hours away,
letting the spring salt into her sleepless room, Atlantic
waves curling in on themselves, red tide creeping towards
shore, and the suffocated fish with bellies like moonlight
doing what is surely required of all the dead and rising.

Traci Brim hall is the author of Saudade (Copper Canyon, 2017), Our Lady of the Ruins(W.W. Norton, 2012), and Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). She's received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.

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Title Annotation:five poems
Author:Brimhall, Traci
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Date:May 1, 2018
Words:320
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