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Something’s Coming but Never Does

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I follow locusts. I think they’re loyal, but it’s a story.
In morning’s bleached streets and nights
of tungsten glinting, their fretted steel legs
ticker the minutes. What do I know, except I need
a thing to walk behind. The lot tagged The Devil,
red spray paint, two concrete steps. This is where I go
when the heat comes, when no one alive can tell me
how to make the day move on. She lies there, the bitch,
in a bed convex from her weight. Though it’s dusk,
I see she is the color of dirt. Though fleas open
new roads through her hair, she is asleep. I hear thunder.
Some days it rumbles dry, no rain. I’m tired. The air here,
it’s like breathing gasoline. I lie down, too. A razor,
a latex glove turned inside out. I curl my body close
to hers, my lips, nose to her spine. I close my eyes.
I want the mites to leave without me, but they don’t.

Source: Poetry (June 2015)

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This poem originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Poetry magazine

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Something’s Coming but Never Does

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  • Rebecca Gayle Howell is the author of Render /An Apocalypse (2013), which was selected by Nick Flynn for the Cleveland State University First Book Prize and was a 2014 finalist for ForeWord Review's Book of the Year and the Weatherford Award for Appalachian Literature. Her second book, American Purgatory (2017), won the Sexton Prize, judged by Don Share, and was published by Eyewear Publishing in both the United Kingdom and the United States.
    Howell is also the translator of Amal al-Jubouri's Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation (Alice James Books, 2011), which was named a 2011 Best Book of Poetry by Library Journal and shortlisted for Three Percent's 2012 Best Translated Book Award. Among her awards are fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Carson McCullers Center, as well as a 2014 Pushcart Prize. Native to Kentucky, Howell is the James Still writer-in-residence at the Hindman Settlement School.

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