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Eric Greenwell


Schizophrenia

Voices were long before the ears. When the creek runs dry I sat in a culvert under the road and the wind said hush hush hush and I said hey how long have you been saying that? It said hush hush hush. So a long time, I guess. My father talks to himself too. The wind said hush hush hush. His lips would move if I walked in a room as if he couldn't keep something he never wanted me to hear. He doesn't want to be a father yet I said. The wind said hush hush hush. It's okay I said. I am bad at things like that too, like mowing grass, weeding, closing cabinet doors. The wind said hush hush hush. I don't mean to be. It's like washing dishes, it's not like I avoid them, although sometimes I do, but more like dishes don't exist and never existed. Hush hush hush said the wind. No, I don't blame him. Hush hush hush said the wind. When's the rain coming? I always ask this. And the wind says, hush hush hush. Okay. I think I'll stay a while. The Dog and Pony Show The poem has grown very tired from all the bait and switch, from the hoops and hurdles, from all the splitting wood and stacking stones. Come in and hang your hand-me-down coat on the nail, like a flaccid tongue. Put your feet up on the table. Tonight the coat has nothing to say to the TV and the TV shrugs as it always does and the poem is tired as a star that has, for eons, tried to reason with a rock. Tonight the poem won't put on the coat or get more logs to feed the fire. Because it's tired, after all this, of the wind and of always being the one to walk into it, hand up and squinting into its unfairness, hoping for once you'd get up and follow.



Eric Greenwell was raised on the Mississippi River. Winner of an Academy of American Poets Prize and Recipient of Writing in the Wild and Centrum Writers Fellowships, he was recently offered the PEN Northwest Wilderness Writing Residency in spring/summer of 2016. His poems and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Willow Springs, Lake Effect, and Rattle among other journals.


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