Jeff Pearson

hammered into the wall of the coffin pit picked up by me as you wandered as far along the rails as needed.


this foothold made out of a railroad spike
hammered into the wall of the coffin pit
picked up by me as you wandered as far along
the rails as needed.
Once, it was pitched into a tree—systemic grasps at a higher
branch, like each of my nervous glances at a backhoe
digging your grave.
……….You always wanted
to jam a railroad spike into the side of the Aspen as a ladder.
……….Spindles of dead grass and the fall,

meaty dirt climbs into dusk.
There is never as much dirt as there was
before you displaced it or disturbed it [a footnote needed],
and what exactly did you owe him? / Who wanted to / die? //
A clean grave? / Measuring tape? / Sod? / or the Hurricane
40s left on the carpet // to ask for help? There is never enough
dirt to level off the grave hole.

Eventually, you find someone worth
killing yourself for, you meant to tell me.
Since your mother is here,

you are not. Your side is all spirit:
a Sunday school lesson of hands without gloves
spirits without bodies, who travel through lead.

A hand in a glove does things like: drink air, eat
the love we have / digs graves,
hammers picks through dirt clods for millipedes,

counts legs of the people who walk over them.
They attempt to associate difference
in a body without a spirit.
Your glove of a body emptied, limp, in a cavern.
I look at railroad spikes and remember

ladders are for the living.
We go where we go.
A snow scene panning out above a body
frozen, in the backyard needing to be
buried. The physiology of a wraith.

[1] The physiology of a wraith.


JEFF PEARSON is a graduate of the University of Idaho’s MFA Program and has been published by Noble / Gas Quarterly, Monkeybicycle, Otis Nebula, a capella zoo, Heavy Feather Review, Shampoo, Salt Front, Open Minds Quarfterly, Axolotl, Barrelhouse, Entropy, and Moon City Review. He is The Managing Editor for Blood Orange Review and Poetry Editor for 5×5 Lit Mag and an instructor at Washington State University. Tweets at @legoverleg.


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