Brandon Rushton's poems appear in Denver Quarterly, Hayden's
Ferry Review
, CutBank, Sonora Review, and Passages North
among other journals. In 2016, he was the winner of both the
Gulf Coast Prize and the Ninth Letter Award for Poetry. In
2017 he served as the Theodore Roethke Fellow at the Marshall
Fredericks Museum. Born and raised in Michigan, he now lives
and writes in Charleston, South Carolina and teaches poetry
and composition at the College of Charleston (USA).

In the God-Awful Age of Everyone

Perhaps this is all a new attempt
at going paperless. An electronic
signature required to solidify

the pact-of-privacy between himself
and the non-judgmental mind
he tells his madness to. Fundamentally

a vortex first establishes an axis
and—only then—engineers some type
of funnel. At our most ambitious

we rearrange the living room and return
to our reclining. Perpendicular
to public thought is personal endeavor.

Note how a human lacking reach
will return shortly with a ladder. The body
initiates a warrant—without expiration

—until it satisfies its wanting. Tonight
someone will grow famous.
Forgive her. The night clerk not batting

an eye or concerning herself
with tabloid. Instead, only concentrating
on the voice inside her head, why

it sounds so different than the one she uses
when she speaks. An auditorium mic
remains on and catches feedback from

the rafters. The students are young
and history is still sexy—it's a skin they haven't
tried to shed. This will all be

memorialized, somehow. A spontaneous
presentation is never any less
prepared. A critically-aware-comment

at the foot of a monument is just
the thought-out-observation made
at a distance. We erect another statue

and dedicate it in whomever's honor.
Kids leave their hand marks
in the courthouse concrete. Hopeful

and deliberate in its execution,
a highway makes us faster.
A semi's second trailer detaches

like a loose thought and destroys
the procession as it follows.
It is now a news anchor's responsibility

to deliver. How has it come to this: us
seeking ways to repay the repairman
for doing—this time—what he

promised. Apparently, a tornado picks up
a trampoline to put it in
the neighbor's pool. To remind us

of our place: a hallway bathroom
where we are hiding from debris. Right on cue
the redevelopment commences:

construction cones and caution lights
dam up the process of our driving.
Plexiglas replaces the interim plywood

and people resume watching
parades of other people in the street.
A crossing guard pots a replacement

plant and angers at its posture, the way
it drapes and disrupts his dusting.
There is hardly such a duty

one might volunteer for. Everything
seems so self-indulged. Even the renovated bridge
is arrogant in its rising. There is

no true perception. For example, a nap
alters our understanding
of the afternoon. Just accept it: there is no good way

to get given up on. A cardiologist
returns a defibrillator to its charger
and calls out a time of death.

Vacancy depends on a projection
of the population checking out.
She marvels at the oversaturation

of our species while she pushes
through a group of people toward an exit
in an effort to inhale the fresh and toxic

hustling of the street. The media reports smoke
hasn't been seen in the mountains
for months. She lassos the little animal

in her abdomen and coaxes it back
to sleep. She longs to lift an ax and split
the kindling, kindly. For a body washed

up and pulled back into the bay. Something simple
like that, signifying we're here
for the long haul. Some permanent

impermanence. Artificial lawn ornaments
mimicking the animals they counterpart. Campsites
complete with fake flamingos.

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