Contributor Update: Adam Tavel

Adam Tavel‘s poem “Letter to A.S. Kramer Written on the Back of a Mushroom Soup Can Label” was first published in Issue 77 (Fall 2011) of the minnesota review. It will also be featured in Tavel’s new chapbook, Red Flag Up, available through Kattywompus Press. Tavel received the 2010 Robert Frost Award, and his first poetry collection, The Fawn Abyss, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in 2014. His latest poems appear or will soon appear in West Branch, Indiana Review, Zone 3, South Dakota Review, Bayou, Yemassee, and Diode, among others. Tavel is the poetry editor for Conte and an associate professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Letter to A.S. Kramer Written on the Back of a Mushroom Soup Can Label

8:03 a.m. & already the skunk funk wafting
off the reservation is enough to gag
a goat. Our pimply local gang
corpuscular & indolent as poor boys are
call it The Rez because all the streets
wear the names of the dreamcatcher dead
the way I wear my uncle’s bombardier jacket
as if it holds the forlorn magic of a war
in its stitching. Apache, Monoa, Seminole
& the blocks droop their concrete tongues
over & over, like the Lakewood driveway
five hundred miles from here where Paul,
your neighbor, thumbed a stack of junk
before he felt the forlorn magic of his heart
wince into nothing. In my mind he bayonets
his way through the Ardennes in slow-mo
while a gillion tons of ordnance fall
on France’s heart. My distaste for the word
‘heart’ rumbles so deep that the homily
I’m giving a class of goats at 9
will instruct them to avoid altogether
words that sugar the tongue. I’m praying
the river blows this rank air to the next county
over. Their wives can take it. Their goats
robust & the color of fog never chew tin
for want of grass & though it is a county without
a river, when the spring rain weeps the world
the color of fog yellow ribbons
glisten & flap on fences for the postman.


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