“Selected Poems” by Adam Tavel

Shoved between a Soviet atlas
and an Amish pastry cookbook
at the summer library sale
I find my old mentor unread,
her pages crisp as sliced apple.
My son, lost among vampires,
delights at yawning fangs
caked in an extravagance
of blood. My prayer is a wince
hearing the nearby chopper’s
frantic decapitations of air. Is it
arriving or departing, above us
on its rooftop H? The wounds
are too exact to be believed
on the soon-to-be-undead
my boy thrills to see drained
of daylight. He fills his bag
and I fill mine. At fifty cents
you can just skim them, or toss
them under the bed, or listen
to their thin flapping, held
out a car window in July.
The sound eases the ride
and breaks the country boredom
of all those crowded stalks,
the green monotony of corn.

Adam Tavel’s third poetry collection, Catafalque, won the Richard Wilbur Award (University of Evansville Press 2018). He is also the author of The Fawn Abyss (Salmon Poetry 2017) and Plash & Levitation (University of Alaska Press 2015), winner of the Permafrost Book Prize. His recent poems appear, or will soon appear, in The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ninth Letter, The Los Angeles Review, Midwest Quarterly, 32 Poems,and Tampa Review, among others.

Image: “Find One in Every Store. You’ll See” by Matthew Klein

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