Aubade in a Red State

Josh Myers

Red like the fanned tail of the half-starved hawk mantling
over a cat, twelve weeks deep in drought, beak wet       with the eye’s sweet rot, the liver. Red like the dirt
blown loose from thirst-gagged roots, twisting in little devils       over brittle grass. Red like the contrails’ lit cords burning
across the faces of the final stars, red like the sun’s chapped       smile come bleeding back from its respite. Red like the singlet
the boy wears under a sweatshirt under a black plastic bag       as he sprints every stairway in the stadium before weigh-in
trying to shuck enough sweat from his flesh to let him wrestle       smaller boys. Red like the diet pills that make him itch inside,
make him crosshatch his body with scratches livid as wet clay.       Red like the mat he drives the boys into, chin digging
at their shoulders as they flail like hooked crappies, red like the mat       that should collapse right through the gym floor’s polished slats
for how hard he’s pushing down. Red like the quarry brimful       with a brazen sky, the only place he’s ever felt light
enough, floating. Red like the heads of prairie fire lining the turnpike.       Red like the oil derrick’s clumsy skull rising,
falling, bowing to the hilt of its unfillable hunger.

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Josh Myers is from Heidelberg, Germany. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Copper Nickel, Poetry Northwest, Ninth Letter, Quarterly West, American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He edits Toad, studies law at Vanderbilt University, and lives in Nashville with his fiancée, Jessica Suchon, and their dog, Gracie.

The Missouri Review

Fall 2017

Columbia, Missouri

University of Missouri

Editor
 Speer Morgan

Managing Editor
Marc McKee

Associate Editor
Evelyn Somers

Poetry Editor
Jennifer McCauley

The Missouri Review, founded in 1978, is one of the most highly-regarded literary magazines in the United States and for the past thirty-four years we’ve upheld a reputation for finding and publishing the very best writers first. We are based at the University of Missouri and publish four issues each year. Each issue contains approximately five new stories, three new poetry features, and two essays, all of which is selected from unsolicited submissions sent from writers throughout the world.

New, emerging, and mid-career writers whose work has been published in The Missouri Review have been anthologized over 100 times in Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays, Best American Travel Writing, Best American Poetry, The O. Henry Prize Anthology, and The Pushcart Prize. We are also pleased to be the first to have published the fiction of many emerging writers, including Katie Chase, Nathan Hogan, Jennie Lin, Susan Ford, and Elisabeth Fairchild.

The Missouri Review is, quite simply, one of the best literary journals in the world.”
—Robert Olen Butler

“I’ve admired The Missouri Review for years. . . . It’s one of a half-dozen literary magazines I always read.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

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