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Jesus at the Auction

Do I hear a dollar for this Jesus?
Never been on a dashboard. 

Surely there’s one among you
who will make a small sacrifice to start

the bidding. We’ve more collectibles—Barbie
still in her box, Transformers—but first let’s tend

to Jesus. Just a dollar for Jesus. The gentleman
in the last row?  Friends don’t miss this

chance. Check those pockets.
Silver’s always good here.


My Uncle’s Hunting Trailer

1950’s Airstream, well-made, not like the junk
my mother lives in.  You take a pistol, gleaming

like a moccasin, from a blonde cabinet and we walk
through the cornfield to a line of locust trees

where you set a can on a stump. I don’t remember
pulling the trigger, but the pistol kicked hard,

the air exploded; I missed the can.   Maybe crows
whirled away,  maybe wind rustled stalks.  One shot

was enough, made me remember standing
at attention with the Junior Legion Drill team

as fathers fired their twenty-one gun salutes
on patriotic holidays.   Despite my attempt to stay

stiff, my heart always flinched.   I didn’t tell you
any of this. You were a good man.  We went

back to the trailer and soon your Jeep was heading
back to the town we once called home.


Meditation on the Bower’s House Trees

North of Athens, I’m troubled that I don’t know
the names of these green and waxy trees.

Bamboo in the side yard seems out of place too. 
I’m a stranger here, crossed too many

flora lines. Thirty miles north,
mountains rise above Toccoa. 

I know little about tolerance and range,
but I believe that like us trees might find themselves

far from where seed books label home. Banana tree
in afternoon sun, sheltered from north wind.

Its fruit grows wild, small, 
                          never ripens.  


Driving Tevebaugh Hollow

On one side a small creek.
On both sides locust hills rise.
Sunlight trickles down broken shafts. 

Where the hollow widens, derricks
rust in briers and vines.  
They pumped thick crude

before Texas gushers and Gulf oil spills. 
Nothing moves today but my rental car
rising from the river to Ridge Road

where I meld into October
trees blazing red and gold,
and join the highway to Mars.


In Our Almost Lost Dream

Something is burning on the horizon,
maybe a grass fire, a small town
we once knew.  Then we enter
the courtyard of a narrow mansion
with many skylights; starlight
falls as we walk room to room. At
the end of each hallway we turn right.
A blue door opens into a party.  
A rich woman comes to us with crystal goblets
and says it’s too bad your grandfather
had to play the benefit on River Street tonight.
We know, somehow, to say yes.  


Rick Campbell’s most recent book is The History of Steel: A Selected Works (2014) from All Nations Press. His other books include Dixmont (2008), The Traveler’s Companion (2004), Setting The World In Order (2001), and A Day’s Work (2000).  He has edited two anthologies, Isle of Flowers and Snakebird,andhas been awarded a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and two poetry fellowships from the Florida Arts Council. He’s published poems and essays in The Georgia Review, The Florida Review, Prairie Schooner, Fourth River, Kestrel, Puerto Del Sol, Story South,and other journals.  Campbell was the director of Anhinga Press for twenty years and is a founder and Board Member of the Florida Literary Arts Coalition.  He teaches English at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida.