PoetryIssue 12 | June 2011

Cantina

by Melissa Carroll

Pulp an orange peel sky
to pure madness. There’s melody,

you wailing on the harmonica
and me on the spoons, the clattered sounds

make the sun shake.
You sing me songs of ancient wars

as we ride like it’s always toward,
to what we haven’t figured out yet.

We sweeten our tongues with agave nectar
but it doesn’t keep me from swearing so much,

my mother would say, what man
will want you with a mouth like that.

We’re in a roadside cantina
between two Ponderosa pines

drinking tequila from tin cups
and scattering feed for the chickens. 

I think about these chickens, about soft necks
slit and fresh eggs uncracked, and about the sky

pressing its blue thumb on us. It sucks the air
out of this field. As if in answer, a thunderclap

chars all that blueness, a gesture against impossibility.
Suddenly these chickens, the tequila, are perfect. 

It’s true, the world can’t help
but reveal itself to us.

Red and white feathers
and ripped open sky.

 

About the author

Melissa Carroll learned samba from a gorgeous Brazilian bartender in his Buzios apartment, slept in an Australian cattle field, and once found a $50 bill in Brooklyn after slipping on a patch of New Years Eve ice. Her chapbook The Karma Machine won the Peter Meinke Prize and has been published by YellowJacket Press. She has been published in Barely South Review, Blood Lotus Journal, The Splinter Generation, and others. She is currently a poetry editor for Sweet: a Literary Confection and a nonfiction editor for Saw Palm Journal

Read our current issue:

Poetry

Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok