V. Joshua Adams

Gull’s egg shoulders peeking out,

you sip from a bottle while the dunes grow

geometric homes of wood and glass.

I turn and wave, then stumble into muck,

receive a silent laugh. Freshwater’s not for me.

But your father, in his pastel trunks, insists

the Lithuanian nobles were the last

to give up their paganism. “You know

what this means,” he says. I do not, but nod.


The city has everything we need but nothing we want,

so we pinball on-ramps in a tight little car,

sky and land graphite, we’re drawing it ourselves,

it’s drawing us, past mills, casinos and concrete

cooling towers that look to you

like the thighs of a doll face-down in the earth.

Under spot-lit bookshelves of self-help

and military history, I slip under one waistband,

then another. Flatness is a dream of eternity.

Skyscrapers bottom into the lake.


The house sells, your father remarries a botanist,

and I am writing this from a cabin in the mountains

twenty years on with my hairdresser, Dawn. 

We visit hilltop mines to drink and shoot BBs and feel gravity.

We lie in the hammock and listen for colors.

She brings me to a Mexican place run by an Indian widower 

who pastes icons of saints behind the register

and hangs a last supper in the dining room.

V. Joshua Adams is the author of a chapbook, Cold Affections (Plan B Press, 2018). Work of his has appeared or is forthcoming in Bennington Review, Posit, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. A former editor of Chicago Review, as well as a translator and critic, he teaches literature and writing at the University of Louisville. Follow him on Twitter @vjoshuaadams

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