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Dream Brother

Stephen Hundley

I’m holding the limb of a lilac tree

like a severed arm, shaking the shit 

out of it so the light-colored petals leap off

and spin away. All my friends are yuk

yukking it up, pumping air trombones. 

I’m counting the hairs on Iceman’s head 

because he’s all I’ve got. 

Marcella brought her loving horns 

to the river park, but I can’t lift my feet. 

New black mud on a slack water bay  

at the end of the world. Ice leaves

his clothes torn off by tire shreds 

and yellowed bottles and the wings 

of black water bugs. Beneath Memphis 

the stony bones of hippos, the chips

of chicken, hog, and steer. This city 

and its water; how it lordy lords it, 

like a giant’s vault of clear, sweet wine. 

First the west bank, next the pyramid

will slump away. I’m drunk 

now glaring at the tugboats

with smiles painted on their bows. 

I can hear his teeth clicking in the dark. 

Take that stick out your ass he says. It’s true. 

All the flowers have been sucked away.

Swim in, Ice. He does as I say. 

Marcella’s horns play. In the unreal, 

my brother comes back. 

Stephen Hundley is the author of The Aliens Will Come to Georgia First (University of North Georgia Press, 2023) and Bomb Island (Hub City Press, 2024). His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Carve, Cream City Review, The Greensboro Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MA from Clemson, an MFA from the University of Mississippi, and is currently completing a PhD in English at Florida State University.

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