Just to get away.



I reach back and pull

out a set of cassette tapes

I found in a thrift store

outside of


The Brothers Karamazov

read by Debra Winger

1 dollar for the 8 tape


and I listen to her

read and I drive through

the summer

and on the side of the

road I see a cop


a vagrant

and the vagrant is

screaming something

and his dog is almost

dead looking

I feel the wind pick up

out of nowhere and

it blows the air around

but there is nothing

good about it

and overhead

a few hawks

circle slowly

and a few miles

up I see

a motor home

on its side

in the median

and the entire

home is broken open

and there is fiberglass

and clothes and

half of the stove

on the grass

and this hillbilly

couple is sifting through

the remains while

the tow truck driver

talks on his phone

from inside his truck

and the woman is crying and

the children are sitting off to

the side watching

their parents salvage

what is important

and portable

I turn up my air conditioning and

increase the volume

my head is on fire

I drive Highway 44 west

and blow around faces

and dead animals

and yes, Alyosha

Hell is more beautiful

more vivid

and possible.


–Excerpt from Dead Birds Hot

About Jeff Stewart

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