Shirts or Skins, a 2014 poetry chapbook by Jim Redmond

A Town Called Panic

I left in a post-mortem jumpsuit.
I broke in a new bottle of shine.
I found some good in a deer skull
licked clean. I spoke in a voice I stole
north of the Ozarks, went south
when everything else did, set a table
for 3 minus the living and then played
with burnt fingers the whole damn song.

Or to start over. To stay home,
to say to some 5 o’clock stranger
on the bus something I’ve yet
to make sense of:

how sometimes I sit in a motel room
as if a painting were to follow
instead of the silence, where I am

nameless each waking.

How I have seen my own death
like a car crash at exactly 4:05,
its entire split second.
To say what it felt like,
the suck of an egg
in or out of a snake


it is almost morning.
It is almost that hour
of quiet

where the world is too perfect
to be troubled by help.


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