A More Inventive Child’s Mind: Two Poems


The poetry of North Carolina’s Al Russell evokes the suburban legends, bewildering distractions and private grammar of free-range teenage life.

Hanging Rock Lake

And the girl flew off the cliff into the deep,
And she never was heard tell from ever again.

Oaks in the wind sound like old doors
slamming, that place near my house
(no one saw it for real) just like the movie. False 
eyewitness accounts with the same snowy fuzz
of the great bigfoot just out
of frame at least were pleasant:

Her frame was so small, her bones so starved,
She, like, caught an updraft, blanketing down.

For Clarity’s Sake

In my house a grubby shower stall
is where I bathe myself. It smells
funny, populated mostly
by sewage-thriving choky insects.

I’d like a big claw
footed bathtub like
the one I 
used to have, 
so I could sculpt,
like a soufflé, a bubble
bath relief map
with a chasm
of a Nordic fjord to represent
the warring factions
of the Bubble People
(who all look foamy and feel light
but have decided
they are different and don’t 
get along).

In a more inventive
child’s mind they might be
sort of overhead
projector transparencies,
insides scribbled
in squeaky red grease pen. And how
do these battles 
support their (allegedly)

I’d have to let them
destroy one another
my own interference would be too much
they’d blow all away
with a puff of my breath
on a strain of glassy air. 

Al Russell is a graduate at the MFA program at the University of New Hampshire. She is a poetry editor at Outlook Springs literary journal. She is also an ordained minister of the Church of the Subgenius. She lives in North Carolina. Her first book, Children of the Anxious City, is available from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press (http://www.vegetarianalcoholicpress.com/).

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