two poems

by Lucas Peel

There Are Only So Many Ways to Write About a Dead Thing

before it becomes just another piece of roadkill flattened by the interstate.
all rosary and plastic flower melting in the august heat.
conjugals from scavengers and weeping mothers.
you ask about the body; something about the way a bird falls when broken.
you’ve seen them, you say, the mouths. how they lick the bones clean, lips
smacking though they may be. and of course there’s no need for leftovers;
yesterday the boys came and stripped bare what they wanted.
one year, spada kills a bull shark and hangs its noosed carcass from the palmetto bridge.
in another, brad strangles a muscovy by the retaining ditch as we all laugh from the tailgate.
and what is boyhood but shitty beer and conquest? some spectacle of violence.
teeth bared, he emerges from the swamp with a seine net and a fresh coat of goosedown.
here, too many boys try to grow feathers, if not to escape, just to look fly in the meantime.
see, there has always been an interest in the fall, whether or not with wings,
once we knew a boy and then just a speck in the hazel sky.
and i guess this is what it looks like when you can no longer tell of a stranger’s worth
by whatever shiny thing they can coax out of the saltgreen water,
or pluck from the mosquitothick sky.
what a privilege to fly away when the rains come.
to laugh with a full belly on damp and fertile ground.


The Rains, Buried Like an Urgent Question

a topography of doubt; felled carcass of growth.
here, the H3 peeks out from moanalua’s soft belly, humid, unfamiliar.
questioning my deep sigh. it’s sunday and i am alone, or with god, or both.
and how long will i let the valley echo back before i consider its loss
a new kind of empty? rhetorical question. softpalatte; mouth bitter, bloodorange,
the rotting flesh of a lilikoi open and buzzing. a herd of cattle egrets patiently digs
in fertile ground. i like to think that they too are a kind of tiny god,
plucking some pink thing from the dirt to fill themselves with rain.
and what is a body but some bloated sky? the threat of moisture,
tired list of names falling from a heaven too heavy to hold them all.
when i say that the trees are just your dead friends trying to speak to you,
i mean to say something of silence. that the eclipse of waking sun off
the morning dew is a testament to this, i think, or some other kind of witchcraft.
my father was a catholic once, meaning he also saw his face too many times
in brackish water and crawled his way to somewhere else.
but i am my mother’s son, meaning something i have not yet come to see
rise over the forest’s long shadow. tender sinners,
how small we all look from the ridgeline, a whole civilization of red
dirt at our feet. i mean to say that i hear you still, whispered,
long howl in the backlit canopy, overhead;
how the skull becomes belljar or burial or blooming thing in the morning light.

Lucas Peel is a Florida Man by trade, shithead by starsign, and runaway by choice. His poems have been featured in Hominum, Olney, HAD, GASHER, Barren, The Hunger, and others, enjoying a steady feature on a handful of shelves on his mother’s dresser. Lucas was born in the year of the banana and currently lives in Honolulu, HI. He sometimes believes in love and also himself.


Photography by: Shane Stagner