the long cry settling on dust, by Corbett Buchly

the long cry settling on dust
by Corbett Buchly

the boy whined without end
that his legs were weary
burning like the center of a neutron star
that his belly was empty
like the silent vacuum that hung between planets
that his skin burned
blistered like the earth’s crust pockmarked by humanity

his mother soothed with song
crooning the soft twitter of a painted bunting
biding her time among the pines
but his father was absent
lost to the savagery of the maras
and the cheap bullet that sung his final note
like his words, unknown and violent

but the boy did not calm
going on with his ceaseless lament
the others that marched grew angry
chided him to end his grating grievance
the boy only lowered his voice
grumbled his pains in chant without end
digging like spurs into the travelers

at the border the two soldiers emerged
rising from the scrubland itself rifles in hand
turn away! they shouted, brandishing black steel
that glinted like carapace in the shadow of dark cells
all stood stunned as the boy continued into America
his litany of sorrow drumming
like the pulsing fusion that powers our sun

the rifles rang out against earth and sky
two sharp barks of protest that echoed only twice
but the boy’s voice thrummed on
running like a river up the Chisos mountains out over the Texas plains
and at last spreading like fire across the sky
an angry prayer that tattooed the land
like comets or stardust falling upon our heads forever

Corbett Buchly’s work was published in Barrow Street and North Dakota Quarterly. He studied English literature and writing at both University of Southern California and Texas Christian University (Masters and B.A., respectively).

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