Issue > Poetry
Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert was born on Barksdale AFB in 1974 and grew up in Central Florida. He works in a library and is an MFA student at University of Texas, El Paso. He lives in St Johns County, Florida with his wife and daughter.

Dark Turn Of Mind

               Some girls are bright as the morning and some girls

               are blessed with a dark turn of mind.
                                                               —Gillian Welch

What year was it we decided to move to The Keys
and raise chickens and be little approximate Hemingways,
little exotic disasters, instead of the common ones
we were quickly becoming? Oh, I guess it doesn't matter.
It could have been any year. And we could have been
any two misguided people in love, dreaming up absurdities
for themselves, but you, bright thing, went dusky,
and turned on yourself, as beauty unaccounted for can do,
and decided you weren't worth anything bold and bright
and reckless as island life, went the way of grimmer fictions,
velvet undergrounds and filthy last exits,
not in Paris or Brooklyn, but frondy, humid Central Florida,
which is a poor substitute for Paris or Brooklyn. And I,
unmoored, drifted a little out to sea, but found my way back
to shore once I got hungry, and have done okay,
have stayed, more or less, hungry. You got better, too,
I hear, and live on a mountain now, which is a kind of island,
with two babies, and a mountain man, which sounds pretty good,
and I hope it is, because you deserve something more
than approximations and doomed, childish romanticism.
I wonder, though, what our lives would have looked like
had we gone native, been brave enough for each other
to find that little clapboard house on Fat Deer Key,
and raised those chickens and hell together.
But there's richness, I suppose, in not knowing,
in haunting the bright outskirts of what could have been.




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