Poet of the Week: Cortney Lamar Charleston

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Melanophobia: Fear of Black

How the moon, sometimes, is a scythe of hard enamel,
sign that somebody may be left better-headless in the dark.


How the threat’s description is always bigger than
the actuality, panic a hallucinogen ringing its own alarm.


How a teenage boy becomes a bull, a tough cut of muscle
to cut down, too much to handle—a man thinks, tickling


a trigger, pathogens atmospheric among the airwaves.
The deepest violet has bloomed: the police are on high alert.


Home security systems have loudened with consumer
demand. Parents in suburbia are turning down the music,


locking up their liquor cabinets and wine cellars, placing
tracking devices inside their daughters’ cars. The city wheezes


a swaying of water-stained glass against the sky, always on
verge of shatter. Telecommuting is the only way of traveling


to good work. Somewhere, in a factory near the graveyard of
locomotives, gears continue turning undeterred by the friction


of bodiessacrifices ground to dust while trying to stop them
from telling lies of time and progress. Everything came back


around to where it was before. There’s a hunt going onnot for
witches, but female kinds of canine; corrections has an abundance


of cells available, and all those state-of-the-art circuit boards
still don’t put themselves together: it’s said there hasn’t been an


operating system developed that performs as well as they do
under intense heat, flesh be damnedAnd it is: looks hellfired.


originally published by The Missouri Review

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