Back to Issue Nineteen.

rain follows the plow, manifest



Saltillo, always and across:

no word for or even from yellowhammers,
their like or their portent.

In your cradle on the wreckpan plain,
they named you doubt—

with all their emblems of pain fastened outside,

your father’s father a patricide,
at the nigh end of a pike.

It’s a long sweetening: severe,

riddled with seam squirrels,
sego, and salt horse.

Bullbats overhead,
rockchuck and taxel underfoot:

a ragged banner,
extinct inside a cow path, a welt,
and a draw.

The outlet upon the outlet of blood.

Who here isn’t a naked possessor—

the dry and baking track
holding up a railroad without steam?



rotten logging



Both knees purple
where I scrambled after some elk teeth.

I had to think once or twice about you:
nobody breaks like that forever.

One day you’ll jostle into town,
dragging your hat rack behind you

your throat bright with snake head whiskey.

I’ll be sober in a field of praying cows:
there’s no plaster in an end town.

Trade the rain inside the hat rack
for a straight-colored horse,

turn your empty bottle, that old soothsayer,
sideways, into a prow.

because if we are what we make of each other
then we hardly have use for the light.

Erin Elkins Radcliffe is the author of Bottomland (Sundress Publications, forthcoming) and Station of Rain (Dancing Girl Press, 2013). Her poems have recently appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, Coal Hill Review, Whale Road Review, and The Hopper. Originally from Indiana, Erin now lives with her family in Albuquerque, New Mexico. More of her work can be found at

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