Post Road Magazine #24

The County Fair Building for Animal Husbandry

Adam Houle

The wire hutches sat empty.
No sateen ribbons or nuzzling rabbits,
no nametags rocking in grit.filled wind
that soothed through the open bay doors.
It was worse than we thought it'd be,

to see no winners, no placers,
no child breeder to proudly tell us
in the half.dusk of concrete pillars
that she alone rose before dawn
to bottle feed each in her blind litter.

We didn't know we wanted rabbits
until we saw there were none to see.
Then, it was almost too late to joke
away the gnawing sense that the fair
had cheated us. We laughed it

off by admiring the bright chest
of a lone peacock pacing its hay.strewn pen.
We stuffed ourselves on corndogs,
paid to pop a carny's taut balloons,
and labored not to pinpoint all that was amiss.

We Are Fewer than Before

Adam Houle
in memoriam, LR

He checks the obits from his old town
for the husk of himself he finds there,
to compare notes for what he should
recall and what he knows was true.
That girl he left seizing in a bathtub
(a fine foam spittle, tiny soap bubbles
rising from cherry.glossed lips,
her benediction, a shallow gurgle
telling him it's fine to leave) survived
that time but not this later one.
And he wonders if the new friend
plucked the spike before he called,
if he pulled her sleeve to hide the tracks,
faked discovery as though he just arrived.
Or if the surviving was punishment enough.
And he pulled shut every door as he left
and left and could not stop leaving.
If he's sadder now. Tired, and more free.

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