Justin Runge currently lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he pursues an
MFA in creative writing and serves as editor of Blue Hour Press. His work
has been published in Hot Metal Bridge, Fawlt, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.


Hills are slow,
bluffs sudden.
SUVs instead
of pack mules
corkscrew up.
At the top,
a plaque notes
how one man
died. A lone
helicopter low
at the plateau
tip. Sagebrush
beating ictus
to its bluster.
An older man
hardly shaken,
bent on a bench.
Scrub crush
under squeal
of approaching
babies bjorned.
Camper horn
peals off a far
aiguille. Math
is somewhere
in the still
before echo.
Strata, itself
like a ruler.
A multi-tiered
rod demarcates
how curious
mobs eroded
rock more
than the past
water could.


Zipper tooth
shelter belts
secrete geese,
which spray
into the clear
of above
at an air
horn yowl.
Only winter
sees surface
reflect sky,
both dirty
white. Out
in the open,
the fowl
A squirm
of muscae
flocks with
this flock,
amoebic, in
irreal glide.
Against taut
the wires
must hide.
Plain sight.
ation foot-
lights this
theater full
of floating.


Of dozens
filling front
seat legroom,
a body shop
receipt gets
plucked out
by carjacking
rips across
the redacted
October crop,
skipping shot
goose, just as
blown. Apart-
ments, board
game barren.
No one buys
trees for them.
Clothing on
lines break
small sound
barriers, pop
at a terse gust.
Little brothers
smoking, sun
lit vampires
lain in empty
acres. Bigger
brothers recon
on bikes. On
tracks, penny
savers flit. Ant
hill and its BBs.
A neighbor's
grill is a blanket
scent. The kids
upwind of it,


Young ones
howl from
a ball pit.
The outlet
like a cave.
As Roman
decay was
built in. A day
of snooping
through wind-
ows, or owl
necks always,
like jar tops,
twisting past.
This, haunted
by merchants
who hawk
corduroy over-
alls, archaic
floppy disk
Fed by its own
water tower.
Kept warm
by a shawl
of parking lot
pulled up to
hide acne scars.
The cars signal
their leaving
with seizure
episodes, rattle.
Two functions
here: departure
and effluvia.
The food court,
a failed utopia.
A place to rid
oneself. Weight
loss retail space
available. Women
in the karate suite
practice breaking
noses. Later walk
to nylon fire sale.

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