Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Final Orders

Down the wide line
Green tufted
With worn dark spots
Dark arising on the horizon
The smell of powder
Thick in the
Late afternoon air.
A Carolina gull
Dips too close
Meandering in from
The nearby sea
And lands
Unsure atop a faraway
A rifle cracks
Far up the line
The small brass headed bullet
Streaking across the flats
Before slamming into
The white faced target.
My buddy sighs
In anticipation
His small hands wet with
This late afternoon shoot
His third and final try
In our turgid initiation.
I kneel beside him
Elbow extended over bent knee
Leather straps holding the rifle
The sight still not steady
Down the long barrel
Lock and load comes the faraway order
My dry fingers reach for the clip and jam
It in
And one single  finger
Then releases the bullet
On its way.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


At four AM
I watch Belarius play France on TV
In rough hockey at the arena in Park City, Utah
While I play backgammon on the Internet
Against an opponent in Istanbul
Who wants to know about the weather
Here in Atlanta.
Then I write an email to my friend Neil on Long Island
Asking about the visit of his brother from Montana
And their recent journey to the Ground Zero sight.

I flip off the power
And in the dark wind my
Way up the stairs with the dogs trailing
Find my wife in the bed
And run my hand between her warm thighs
Reaching for her other hand behind her head.
I snuggle close, listening to her even breathing
As I sink deeply into the soft pillows
My nose just out of the surrounding down
And drift off
Into the universe.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Juror #1

It's a new day
And I'm sidetracked
Caught within these concrete walls
I can take the other people
Sitting waiting
Here with me.

It's the smallness
And the sameness
The blue chairs and metal
The tight weaved sea blue
And the white florescent lamps.

It's the fans that hang unturning
And the air so dry and cool
And the banging from the
That encircle every side.

Please to Christ and let
Me loose
I'm a bird that needs more space
Open up that window there
And watch my exit
From this place.


Take the shoreline
Straight down the coast
The long beach smooth and soft
Then the jut out of
The old naval forts
Sea grassed in.

It's the bay that I enjoy
Just around the corner
The water shallow and tan
And the long river opening
Into which I often sailed
My small craft.

Ellery S. McLanahan