The Story (Each Day)

R.T. Castleberry’s 
writing has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Alembic, Pacific Review, RiverSedge and Deep Water Literary Journal, among other journals. He is a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. His work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

The Story (Each Day)

There is always a story at the end of a rocket.—Marie Colvin

Take an Elvis smile,
take a stare—long, impudent,
nothing offered but impulse and wiseass wit.
I carry every word of
Garryowen and Staggerlee in my memory,
mass them tenderly in a Beale Street bar,
match them like highway miles beneath a Cadillac’s tires.

Like a prisoner consenting to his chains,
I take my terror straight Delta—
black cat bone and a Memphis curse.
I ignore the soldier’s toll on TV,
wounded, worn-out, KIA;
ignore the sense of a gunman stalking
with a Starlight scope and a minister’s consent.

Dawn a deathbed drone, a weary wearing moan,
I listen for the helicopters chop.
Flight plan low,
they dust rooftop, phone line, intersection.
I stand in the wind, waiting for walls to fail.
Stucco and stone are stained with fire.
Caught with a camera and the pictogram machine,
I count my coins in that blizzard.
The dead make their claim, elusive, insistent.
I share my debts with a victor’s moon.


[image: Mr Stagger Lee by paczkowski]

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