Portrait of a Small Town with Safe Search Disabled
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the football team low on venison boil the class president
and eat her ass first somehow ceremoniously so
a rotisserie in the gazebo a slow cooker in the Hannafords
parking lot this is what Shirley warned us about
my neighborhood drunk and snowmobiling in the summer
his high beam cutting down trees tossing his wife
head first at the wall once I watched him mime kicking a dog
and probably laughed we drank water from the same well
where a doe had crumpled years before it was too late
at what point do I stop looking back wishing I’d known better?
will I stop getting surprised by how little this matches
the brochures my neighborhood once told us he could get us
into the KKK make us card carrying members
I still want to believe it was a joke that the foliage didn’t lose
all of its color right there and then that the streams
didn’t roll up like carpets and hang themselves back on the wall
Eli Karren’s “Portrait of a Small Town with Safe Search Disabled”
appears in Flock 23.
Eli Karren is a storyteller, poet, and fourth grade teacher residing in Austin, Texas. He was the 2017 recipient of the Benjamin C. Wainwright Poetry Prize and his works can be found in Geometry, Vantage Point, and the Redlands Review. He also has work forthcoming in Turn It Up: Music and Poetry from Jazz to Hip Hop.