Inventing an End
for Leigh Mayeaux, whose body was never found.
Maybe he straddles you in the soft mud,
his eyes the brown shells of beetles,
your voice a yellow-jacket buzzing
in the sweaty throat of his palm.
Maybe sunlight trickles onto the ground
as the sharp black wings of crows ripple
in the curved steel of his switchblade,
or maybe he has a gun.
In my mind the end is always the same:
your pale body twisted in the muddy mouth
of a bayou where rusty lures flicker like flashbulbs
and the spotted scales of bass blink
through green lashes of eel grass.
I see you drifting through a cloud of cattails,
hair tangled with leaves, lips curled
around your final watery word.
CHRIS TUSA was born and raised in New Orleans. He holds a B.A. in English, an M.A in English, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Florida. He teaches in the English Department at LSU and acts as Managing Editor for Poetry Southeast. With the help of a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, he was able to complete his first chapbook of poetry, Inventing an End. His debut novel, Dirty Little Angels, was published by The University of West Alabama in March of 2009. His debut collection of poems, Haunted Bones, was published by Louisiana Literature Press in 2006. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, Texas Review, Prairie Schooner, and others.
Poem from Inventing An End (Lone Willow Press), © 2002, Chris Tusa. Used by permission of the author.