Days of 2009

The Iowa Review - - GRAHAM BARNHART -

This is the one where he leaves her, wrecks his sis­ter’s car af­ter ten hours to Pitts­burgh to see a girl who re­fuses be­cause he seems empty. And this is the one where he knots his shoul­ders over flash­cards like a fire in the frozen bar­racks. The one where he watches the in­au­gu­ra­tion on­line whis­per­ing Ara­bic to him­self. This is the one be­fore his first war. This is the one where he grows thank­ful to God on the long stretch of Vir­ginia pike, where he finds heaven is High­way 77 south­bound slack be­tween moun­tains where noth­ing quits, and the mas­sive hills are frozen at dusk, black waves full of ter­ri­ble prom­ise. This is the one where he’s thank­ful for heaven and hate­ful that it can only ex­ist be­tween things. This is the one where he learns how to sa­vor guilt, how to make it last. The one when Charleston and DC and Pitts­burgh rise and re­cede like sewing nee­dles, the one where he passes out in the pews of St. Matthew, and thinks he’s never seen any­thing so bright, so bright but not blind­ing. It’s the one where he is wrong and the one where he learns to guess what he’ll long for be­fore he gives it up, and this is the one where he gives.

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