The 2River View 21.1 (Fall 2016)

Walter Bargen


Wrenches working against each other, the pieces don’t easily
disassemble: flat washers, lock washers, machine bolts, self-
threading screws, all obstacles. This is a repair forced upon
those wandering the desert of poverty. The housing around the
rear wheel is a rusted through star chart. Moses glimpses God in
the buck brush amid the chiggers and ticks and ignores him as
he works in the yard.

Out west, in Arizona and Colorado, fires are consuming
hundreds of thousands of acres. Whole mountains of pine are
pyramids of flame. Egyptians pharaohs would be envious. Night
a transcendent glow. No face in a forest of flames, nor a burned
tortilla nailed to the restaurant door, or staring down in a certain
slant of light from a water tower. It’s Sunday, Moses is busy
converting his push mower into a self-propelled believer.


Eve really hasn’t tried anything on yet, and probably won’t,
but she’s shopping around for the right disease. At first she
thought the more exotic the better though exotic has its own
limitations. Geographically speaking, the common cold could
be exotic in Antarctica. Ebola more than exotic where she lives
but uncommon is probably not a good candidate either. Malaria
with its uncertain outcome, perhaps years of flash fevers and
night sweats, not certain enough. Hemorrhagic fever more
certain but more random and difficult to find. And there’s no
control over an aneurism. Who can say when the heart will
explode. Perhaps she will have to settle on an industrial grade
cancer. But really it’s all the same or, at least, it ends the same,
and so she takes another bite of the apple.

Walter Bargen has published eighteen books of poetry, most recently Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems (2009), Endearing Ruins (2012), Trouble Behind Glass Doors (2013), Gone West (2014), and Three-corner Catch (2015). From 2008 to 2009, Bargen served as the first poet laureate of Missouri.  websitecontact

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