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Poems By Corey Mesler


In Chloe’s Hand an Ocean

Say a prayer for things lost,
little one
whose hand is only a starfish,
only big enough
for something precious, something
totally ours.

Previously published in Sentinel Poetry


In Chloe’s Hand the Sky

Say a prayer for things found,
the restless universe
laying out the pieces. In her hand,
no bigger than a star,
link to link, until you get the picture,
there is infinity.
A bible black stretch of leeway.

Dodgery, Hokey-Pokey, Yesterday
(for Jay)

Nights when nothing else was at hand
we would buy cough syrup
and drive out the long snaky roads
which led into the county.
Or, sometimes, full of beer and pot
we would piss our names
on the blacktop in front of Lita’s
house, like dogs marking
our territory and laugh like hell
when in the morning they
were still there: obeah cuneiform.
Much time has passed since then
and you are in recovery and
I’m trapped in the oblivion ha-ha
of my head. It’s not so comical anymore.
Time loves clowns, though,
and tomorrow, we will see each other
and pat our spreading backs
and laugh again, coughing, and sputtering, at how
fucking funny it all was,
every last living bit of it.

Corey Mesler is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, Cranky, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, published by Algonquin Books. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. Nice blurbs from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, and others. He has a new novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, due out in 2005 from Livingston. His latest three poetry chapbooks are Chin-Chin in Eden (2003) and Dark on Purpose (2004) and The Heart is Open (2005). He also claims to have written “I’m Not You’re Stepping Stone.” Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad, and Cheryl’s husband.



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