RJ Hooker

A Drunk Abandons His Farm, January 1959


The bantams are starved.

Bone and feather,


Frozen in a clump.

The hay in the chicken pen

Is clotted with snow.




Copper wire has been ripped

from the plasterboard.

Gray, petrified firewood.

Remains of window panes like shards

of teeth.




A gnawed-through rope around its neck,

The bloodhound noses the hole

It made in a dying calf.


Opened purse of gut:

The darkness of it

Exposed to the dust-hazed twilight.  




A policeman shines a flashlight

Across the gleaming belly

Of a liquor still.





Cicadas burst from their shells in summer

and what's left clings to telephone poles like an effigy. 

The jewel of skin left behind is mud flecked, translucent.

A broken doppelganger that gleams with imperfection. 

The split back, the amber legs which crumble like tobacco leaves.

The head bowed as if to suggest prayer.  The cicada thinks of nothing

as it slides veined wings from its glass blown artifice,

remains silent as it shucks the veil of life from its body. 




RJ Hooker is pursuing an MFA in poetry from George Mason University.  This is his first publication.



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