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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.


Kevin A. Risner

between the buildings        a pulse

flies through clotheslines

         powerlines         the invisible ones are like

contrails bobbing from neighbor to neighbor

         the serenade filtering through

the air enters in one window

out the other        a violin cries

notes and wind        the curve of it all

wedges into caves        burrows into pores

with each season

         summer pours into my ears        a medication

to purge my body of the answers

someone somehow sent duty-free

from the afterlife

         drumbeats bless me with a rhythm

I never had        a tethered path through the dead

of night        through the dreariest rainstorms


of May        each leftover morsel of food sits


in my stomach like peach pits        watermelon seeds

the new plants growing alongside the yeast

I’ve stuffed inside me

         to rise        just wait for an hour

         a balloon journey to another world        you have to

start in Ohio        rise over the lake and sneak into Canada

         I don’t know enough yet

         the next hand pulls the curtain back

to see the tear in my eye        a blank never shoots

at once        a breath rattles from the arctic       

         can you know what’s unseen         the worry

         I’ll find hidden entities entering

the empty night sky

         I want to know the truth         reality         I want

the heat again         I want it back

         I want it to stay forever

Author Bio: Kevin A. Risner is an Ohioan. He is the author of Do Us a Favor (Variant Literature, 2021).

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