every line-ending borrows words from “The Last Boat” by Frank Stanford
Get in the boat, quick. In an urgent second, he descends. No exile cares what happens after they leave town. Just to prove you wrong, he’ll be laughing by the floodwall, passing in-and-out of focus. By the way, you are the last soul I wanted to see here. Winds started picking up. He is just another river rat who loved darkening doorways before leaves leave the trees, then the freeze. You know him, don’t you? Cold hands, eyes cold as a church floor, the lines in his arms recited like hymns sung in the afterdark service. Truth of the matter is, you should forget his name, whatever lies he said, let go of his memory. Let your lamp go black, the lighthouse go dark, let it all—let lord take care of it. Nights and nights glide worthless, forgettable as the prayer you said last Sunday. Notorious people always run by here, think the earth doesn’t remember their pattern of unforgivable acts, and his pattern: one-in-the-same. His kind of country takes care of two things: lying and cheating. Come on in, come back to sleep. Wait up for all I care. What do you like? Day’s going to come where a woman has your name written in an envelope and her chest is an ambush.
-- Forrest Rapier has poetry forthcoming in Freshwater Review, Dead Mule, LandLocked, and Levee. He has received fellowships from Looking Glass Falls, Sewanee Writers Conference, and has also held writing residencies at the University of Virginia and Brevard College. Former poetry editor for Greensboro Review and North Carolina Writers Network, he recently received his MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he now lives and hikes the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.