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  • Laudate Dominum
  • Lit stalks stitch patterns over moss-mute boughs,
  • The patched procession of winter and early dawn.
  • A dormant vine’s engrafted web soon glows,
  • Emblazoned tongues along the runged oration.
  • O distant fire, stirred to renew in rose
  • The ice-crowned crevice and the gelid grain,
  • Remind us of that language thawed earth knows,
  • Roots spelling pulp-white limbs in loam again.
  • Severance
  • It’s not unlike the killing of rabbits, quick
  • And brutal, and it leaves a lingering sick
  • Feeling that takes some time to overcome.
  • Harvest days on the farm my chest grew numb
  • With the work, until we could finally freeze
  • The meat. Even then the hint of unease
  • Was there, the general gloom that wants to stay
  • When any mortal life takes another’s away.
  • And you really never get used to that,
  • The whiff of finality in every set
  • Task and familiar rhythm of labor’s give
  • And take. The shock that comes, bolt from above,
  • As soon as “terminated” settles in.
  • At some point, while the details rattle on,
  • No matter how quickly done, and with tact,
  • Somewhere in the background still looms the fact
  • You see in the face turned to ash, then red.
  • The air drips adrenaline. Each word that’s said
  • Or not said trembles in the throat and hands.
  • At last, tears and outrages past, the victim stands
  • And turns not quite sure where the door is, like
  • Lazarus still bound, unable to speak,
  • Staggering back into the light he had
  • Almost completely forgotten in death’s cold shade.
  • The Car Salesman
  • Man minus the Machine is a slave; Man plus the Machine is a freeman.
  • Henry Ford
  • Angelic metal measures out the light
  • In angled shafts. They sharpen the contoured forms
  • Of cars sweating out this summer’s afternoon.
  • It’s show-time again. Cheeks of leather. Bright
  • Eyes shift like mirrors in the sun, and swarms
  • Of honeycombed words purr along the promising tune.
  • The familiar theme of perfection is renewed
  • In ergonomic features, each designed
  • To ease the weight of pilgrimage with all
  • The comforts of a home. And so, the road
  • Transforms in his magician’s gesturing hand
  • From tired commute into the elusive goal.
  • I can almost smell the apples and the hay
  • Through those windows when they glide like butter down
  • With barely a touch of my finger at the door.
  • And miles of rolling wheels beneath the play
  • Of well-oiled pistons brush with the breath of a gown
  • As he steers me into the cool shade of the store.

John Gallagher

John Gallagher

John Gallagher holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Dallas. He and his family live in the Northwest.

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