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Post Road Magazine #32

Gravel Road + The Gymnastics Teacher

Adam J. Gellings

Gravel Road

     after Frank Stanford

That night my childhood dog,
Shadow, woke me from a dream.

I stood up & looked out the window

I saw you was dancin'
in the gravel road like Aphrodite
untying your sandal
searching for a flea

I saw your clothes crawl off

I saw there was a lizard
or a snake
that bit your heel.
Blood stain on your leather sole.

I saw that soulless bitch dog barking

     Speak up
     Speak up
     Speak up

     Speak up at my father

rottin' like a persimmon
in his rocking chair
I saw the upholstery was stained.

I felt the clouds float by us
in the dead of night
like a line of trout

I saw Ben Holt was still alive
sittin' next to me
drinkin' PBRs
on the midnight patio

I saw kamikaze moths
whizzin' into a hushing
yellow bulb

I waved to Uncle Kip
workin' the fields
under a husk of moon

his hand slippin' into the corn
grinder

I saw the blood run
through the shaking kernels
like cherry cola

his four fingertips twitchin'
in the spreading stain
scarin' away
the gnats

I saw him keep moving
like nothin' ever happened
like nothin'
ever happened
like he just kept pushin' on

I saw the stars streak over
like a thousand
scalpels ripping
open the goddamn sky

the moon
was just a lemon wedge
hangin' there
hangin' over everything

squeezin' us
into the stinging cracks
of the black

erupting

gunpowder of night.



The Gymnastics Teacher

is no more
than five feet one inches tall.
She wants you to know

that kids much bigger than you
have broken her nose.

She wants you to see
her scowl is a second skin.

Deteriorating leather,
aged & oiled from exposure,
the pocket worn thin.

Another day of pink metallic
leotards & blue mats
pushed in a pile
pumping blue blood
& nicotine through the veins
of her outstretched arm.

Another day of small bodies
whirling through warm,
stale air.

It's been fifteen years, but
she does not want to sit still.

It's been fifteen years, but
she does not want you
to know
she can't sleep at night.

That she eats alone. That she needs
whiskey to even show up
each morning.

She wants you to show her
what you can do.
With your arms bent.

She wants you to show her
what you can do.
With your arms straight.

She wants you to strut around
& vaunt as she did
when she was younger.

To dance to the end
of the beam.
To roll & tumble to the edge
of the canvass.
To tunnel your way
through a maze
of fireflies.

She wants you to turn three paces
toward the sun & set in motion
a series of smiles.

She doesn't know fatigue.
She never loved him.

She wants you to know
that kids much bigger than you

have broken her nose.
She wants you to
jump off.

One at a time.

Jump off.



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