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Justin Runge




This is supposed to be a business-as-usual day

but the landscape emptied in a kind of rapture.

Construction is confused for gunfire. A crow

cracks a bit of branch off an ash tree and I am

still here. A crow catalyzes sky in a nice way,

blot of black on a breast pocket. A poet said

that music can’t be put to death, but musicians

have been. Meditation asks us to hear a music

in everything—usually in children and engines.

Whenever I close my eyes I start a catalogue.

This poem could end if I stopped addressing it

to all of us, and instead tilted my head toward

the sky, where the crow has faded, and uttered

the rest of my prayer, just a simple safety wish.




Right back to piles plied with light rain

and wondering if it’s going to holiday.

Life is waiting to make sure it’s okay.

Just a button flapping against the bed—

nothing insidious, nothing to tear at.

The house crackles like fire the next day.

I clean up and bike in the light rain.

I roll up the string and it’s made muddy.

Pop songs lodge in this olding brain

and strategies get struck down, bulleted.

I miss the bus. I miss her doored voice.

I pull back the string and I’m muddied.

Seeing it’s been a sonnet since the start,

I end it like the clack of two rocks.

Runge - Unsurprse
Justin Runge

Justin Runge is the author of Plainsight (New Michigan Press, 2012) and Hum Decode (Greying Ghost Press, 2014). His criticism has been featured by Black Warrior Review and Pleiades, and his poetry has been published in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Northwest, DIAGRAM and other journals.

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