“Invocation // The Beast That Resides in the Acute Angle” by Gregory Kimbrell

The cabbie’s right hand travels the warm flank
of his unharnessed stallion, the striped woolen

muffler still pulled tight across his mouth, as if
to prevent himself from speaking aloud any of

the things that come into his mind after a long
day of work, before walking back down empty

streets to his shared room. The turpentine has
soaked through the earth floor at the west end

of the stable, where a clever boy who ran away
from home when he was still only fifteen used

to sleep in the hay every night. But even when
the world seems to forget us, the memories of

what we have done can seldom be rubbed out
completely. And sometimes the kids who look

far older than they are loiter behind the bolted
door to smoke, for kicks setting on fire unsold

newspapers and watching them burn up in the
rain barrel, wishing they could cause real harm.

Gregory Kimbrell is the author of The Primitive Observatory (Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), winner of the 2014 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Manticore—Hybrid Writing from Hybrid Identities, Phantom Drift, and elsewhere.

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