he passed through brackish streets

filled with disintegrated rubble

and dilapidated homes unmoored

from their footings strung together

by sagging electrical lines extinguished

of power and children’s playgrounds

with rusted jungle gyms lonely

and exsanguinated of their frivolous

vigor like some wandering itinerants

living in hollowed shells of their

former selves searching for morsels

of food for his quavering children

who hadn’t eaten since saturday

and even then it was only oily corn

from a rusted tin can salvaged from

an abandoned root cellar at a

devastated farm with poisoned

crops sagging in their furrowed

fields devoid of any identifiable

forms of life not even cut worms

or creeping charlie or redroot

pigweed and just six days removed

from burying their swollen mother

in that ashy soil on the outskirts

of some backwater town on the

shore of some wandering river

populated with unmoored tug

boats and land locked pleasure

vessels long ransacked and devoid

of any human usefulness what

with the rancid water and rotting

fishes peppering the swollen

shoreline like some biblical

plague of epic proportions and

all the while following the circuitous

route of some meandering railroad

line in an unmitigated effort to

to salvage another form of life

in an undiscovered land devoid

of suffering owing to its sheltered

location between two preening

mountain ranges while carefully

evading those roving bands

of demented marauders


James Butcher

James has published work in Box, Hole In The Head Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Rivet, Prick of the Spindle, Midwest Review, Cream City Review, Wildroof Journal, and Raw Art Review.

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