My guts gurgle under my hand; yes, a place to hide, yes . . . When
the sun sets in the west, the river shines all the way across. News travels:

a clown,
a man whose job was kids’ parties, shoots himself

at his ex-wife’s house. It’s summer, too hot, all the parking lots
and porches abating in an arrogance of excess. “The new

normal.” While
here at home, under a thin sky of breath, my muscles hold memory together,

a sculpture by Brancusi—a bird in space—arcing past the stars; I was also young
once. Was I ever fond of clowns? A rustle of finches scatters stones under the

reach of
the trumpet vine, the clematis that is piling over everything else. ‘George Arthur, Jr.”

the paper announces the name. He put on his clown make-up, Ron says.
Said that Deidre told him. A gun goes off in the woods. It mixes with the roar

of cars
at the drag strip. The river doesn’t make a sound. It’s slow and mindful. It’s

hard to be brave, hard not to go all the way without leaving
a mess, without harming others. Without excluding them either.

David Dodd Lee has published eight collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Animalities (Four Way Books, 2014). His poems have recently appeared in Guernica, Field, Gulf Coast, Blackbird, and The Nation, among other journals. Lee teaches creative writing, visual art, and literature at Indiana University South Bend, where he also serves as editor-in-chief of the university’s 42 Miles Press.