Old Clothes 

by L. Ward Abel

I live in woods 
like old clothes draped over 
rocks the size of towns 
sky-facing, totemic 

some worn away by water. 
The angle falls 
like fall-line slate. 
It gives into sand 

still two-hundred miles 
up from the gulf. There 
my tunneled flesh 
occurs to me 

as being mostly mind 
but less a knowing— 
the con-job 
of thought 

plus breathing. 
Too full of soul 
for a house 
of flint 

my dreams spill into sunrise— 
dreams like rain 
on dry ground—form a wash 
kin to dying. 

A rivulet presumes. Then 
the piedmont sweats. I churn, 
I wear the water, the woods, 
the stone. A ritual. 

About the author

L. Ward Abel’s work has appeared in Rattle, The Reader, The Istanbul Review, Snow Jewel, The Honest Ulsterman, hundreds of others, and he is the author of two full collections and eleven chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006),  American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012),  Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), The Rainflock Sings Again (Unsolicited Press, 2019), and his latest full collection, Floodlit (Beakful, 2019).

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