How Close to Danger

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.


How Close to Danger

Night’s blue haze lifting,
a slow looming sunrise clears
all night streams of formula comedy,
YouTube concerts.
Wakened at nightmares—
explosion’s cloud, vandalized car,
seep of an ambulance siren,
I shudder from bed.
Testing recall for details,
misused theories of survivor’s guilt,
God’s angry gifts,
I mangle what shaking hands can’t manage.
Bread and breakfast charring in the oven,
flat path of low fly choppers rattles windows,
sets off car alarms, babies, hangovers.
“What new war?” is the survival they suggest.
Drones find me in the furrows of a field,
shocked at rags and bones of businesses,
killing marks on the roads.
Property lines shimmer in the dry distance,
rescue belongings piled for donation.
There is too much death today,
too many survivor’s prickly Hosannas,
laments born from overzealous throats.
I see the feral cats return to sleeping stairs,
hear cars rev to the freeway.
Hazards and blessings reeking equal in the sun,
greedy relief sinks me to my knees.

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