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Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His chapbook, All the Songs Sung (Angel Flight Press), and his fourth poetry collection, The Broad Grin of Eternity (WordTech Editions) arrived in 2021. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta ReviewChiron ReviewThe Honest UlstermanIbbetson StreetThe Paterson Literary ReviewImpspired Magazine, and elsewhere.

Infrared landscape of trees around a lake.

CHARLIE BRICE

A MEMORABLE FEAST

La hora se come al ahora.*

Octavio Paz

 

Only time walks through our place on Walloon Lake

now, and time eats the now.

 

We ghosts of time who laughed and lived there,

beheld begonias that hung on the front porch placed

by what was Judy and the blue/crimson rug that we

sloshed on, sprinkled earth on, flaked snow on—

all gone, a memoryscape of a consumed now.

 

There was the cassoulet I made for Chuck who sat

with me at our kitchen table inspecting a script

I’d written for my big Hollywood dream. That dream

ate me like time swallowed our windows on Walloon Lake.

Still, the fragrance of cannellini and sweet Italian sausage

made the air delectable, air now consumed by time.

 

Those rooms housed illness and love, laughter and lament,

honor and defeat. The fireplace at the center of our living

space announced crackle of wood enveloped by flames.

How its heat held on, unwilling to cool. Hours spent in its glow

reading Dostoevsky and Dickens, Jim Harrison and Jerry

Dennis, while wind howled and snow blew horizontal across

the frozen lake to form lines in a gelid tome, a tome that

chronicled the memory of our place and its breath-bound glory.

 

Our walk out to the dock at night to decipher the lake

with its placid midnight secrets was capped by our turn

toward the cabin, its pine walls aglow from red-domed

lamps—a blazing house-sized Chagall that welcomed

our return. Devoured now, as we are all devoured,

by the banquet of time.

*“Time eats the now.” The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957-1987, New Directions, 1990, p.43.

Header from Getty Images

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Dead Skunk Logo: round logo of a white skunk silhouette on a black background with the words “Dead Skunk” in cursive. “Dead” is neon purple and “Skunk” is neon yellow.

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