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The 2River View 15.2 (Winter 2011)

John Mann

Go Toward the Sunset

Bratislava is not on our list,
said the woman who ran
the tour. Said the woman who
counted the lives. Said the
lives one by one. They all fall
down the chute of the real.
More than you can count.
Now the ants march across
his cupboard one by one.
It doesn't matter what the
forecast is. Thunderheads blow
up every day or not. You must
embark. The tide rises under
your boat. They are setting up
colored flags on the other side.
They are preparing a welcome
for those on the guest list.

Join the Visigoths

They were the only ones who offered
arms repair as part of the package.
He'd had bad luck with the cylinder
on the .44 cap and ball. It physically
fell out of the pistol. Of course, severance
pay was death. Those guys never cleaned
their beards. Banquets were gross. Vomit
the currency of communion. They
spoke a language of grunts. Once you
became their friend they were on
you like tight jeans. He didn't get
the women. Ironic smirks and
outright guffaws. He assumed manhood
was always in question. The men
circled them like wary fish. Who
knows what happened at night, in the tents.
Nobody ever talked inside those skins.

John Mann has appeared most recently in The Gettysburg Review. His play—Mass Destruction, Weapons Of—was produced by the New World Arts Theatre in Goshen, Indiana, in 2004. His chapbook is Wyoming (Finishing Line Press 2008). contact