In dreams or in sweaty moments driving, the classroom—

clarity spins away like water carving out a canyon.

I do not know when mind sinks into past crevasses

if it is Rumpelstiltskin padding down the dark hall

outside my room, or Captain Hook who will play

forbidden games.


These ill spirits are not poured from a bottle.

The hands sliding like serpents under the covers

are not healing. I go away and become a new

born, sleek baby seal swimming in arctic

waters with my mother. I nurse at her nipple,

the milk fat, hot, thick, nourishing, as she

protects me from those who would fill me.


This is the ocean womb, where I can take refuge

in shadowed canyons, hidden, watery valleys.

Safe from those who take away my blanket,

Nazis with lugers aimed at my being, panzer

hands driving their muddy tracks over my body.


Corrupted beyond their concentration minds,

deeper into shadow’s valley, I go to earth’s

heart beneath salvation’s waves.


This is the secret place that I prepare.

Here I will grow big, grow strong.

Here I will prepare for reckoning’s resurrection.

Here I will build the russet fire.

Here I will eat the hearts of men.



Ralph Monday


Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 will see a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Pyrokinection, and Poetry Repairs. Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

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