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Post Road Magazine #35

Three Poems

Ru Freeman

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For too long we pushed through the thick air of hatreds

considering that which should not be required of homo sapiens:

birth-skins, the texture of our vowels adjusted, like salt,

to taste, but not ours

For too long, this—

hyphenated conduct of establishing / some worth

there was something infelicitous to our being, parkouring

in your midst, like it was a preference, this gold-medal dance;

like being four-five seconds away

is a position willingly assumed

The second-amendment must have killed

all your seeing-eye dogs, America

for you are blind & I am armed to the teeth

with an execration you’ve called up

this time around.

I hear you got your speed—

dial on, America,

see those bought numbers

never rang for us

You’ve gone and rubbed sleep out of your blue—

blood eyes

You’ve laid it bare, all the jacks and jokers face up

I don’t recognize myself there in that deck

you’ve been hustling with

I ain’t playing with you no more

I hear news you’re having a revolution—


I was raised right making left

turns all my life

& I’m using my last breath

to say I’m sending my regrets





Go west and you can fool yourself:

nobody owns the shore, the signs

don’t matter  not to you.


Follow the arc of the eagle’s road

a clear trajectory hewn

into what is called a stubborn marine fog;

or glance sideways   dive low

where the swallows riff between reeds

among the sheltering newborns,

these brief and feathered things


Pass the lavender acres that speak

of acquiescence to a life well made

the grapes wined and bottled close;

linger, but do not stop by the fields where

lilies multiply into new breeds owned

but not tended, their care left to armies you

see arrive and depart only in daylight

You too wear no lanyard, can claim neither

 ownership or invitation, you are passing—


Through the willow bends, among bullrushes

where pelicans have landed without ado

you can walk on imagining their tale

of woe or slight or necessity, much like your own,

something lost or given beckoned & reach at last

the long sands that harken as you do, to

the elsewhere places. Here, you may stand

as long as the tide allows, listening.


This is the sound of a safe rain falling

around you, without the wet, offering only

the benediction of heard water. Here, you may stand

drenched by the afar from whence it comes,

speaking its untranslatable language, a foreign

tongue lush with sibilance, a dialect that favors

vowels, the consonants gestured toward, but held

low like the harshness of a world that requires a place

in memory but is not permitted to swallow you whole.

You can stand here, listening, as long as the tide allows.





Up on the ranch road where the color

pulls up short as if shocked by our skin

brown repertoire, parched blades

of grass like throats stretched

forever reaching skyward, where

barbar figs are inedible, and pears

spiny, purple, tulip, brittle, and blind are

not fruit but desert laughter, where

the single cane cholla breaks

free in sudden surge up like

the lone windmill moving,

as things do here in this place

that stirs our imaginary stories,

a lone bull stands etched in black

ink against the horizon. If there had been

no witness to the end of day, a cold

cloak to herald the coming

of constellations that do not arrive

only grow in strength, flashlights of

unknown gods behind the unknown

firmament, if even the striated soil

did not slough its heat, too taken

with where it has been laid to rest,

this palette would intimate of fires

that wild through ranch acreage

disregarding borders between

what is protected and what is owned,

forgetting boundaries kept

of road, barn, squeeze chute, cradle,

but not today. Today, the lone bull

stands still in the flame minutes before

night halts the end of day. It stands

and stands, too, between one life

and another, for these few minutes

neither animus revertendi nor ferae naturae,

undefined except as silhouette and dream.

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