Pressed to the Bed

by James Everett

This dream,
at the fair, was

built of many tents:
a man who’d never seen clouds,

a gypsy
hopemonger, a peddler

from the flea markets;
a Dixieland band

playing gospel
followed us

with blood of the lamb
in a samovar;

we were bathed;
the knowing music
pressed us towards

the fortune
teller: swatches
of memory

formed people:
they were named
passively as

Alternative Country;
Losing Ground; the Great Works
of Heaven; the Manifest Past;

the man who’d never seen clouds
whispered a rain prayer,
whispered wake up;

Alternative Country told
how this dream was prison,
Losing Ground how when I wake

no one will remember the constant sky,
everyone slipping through
the Manifest Past glorious into the Great Works of Heaven.

James Everett says, “Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, I felt a certain loss of entertainment in my teenage years, and like others, I’m sure, I dreamt of bigger cities.  High school was drinking and parties in cow fields, abandoned lots, construction sites for new subdivisions.  Once a hay barrel was set on fire and to my recollection I never went cow tipping.   I started writing poems I’m not sure when, and left home for Davidson College on a creative writing scholarship.  In the past year or so I’ve worked contracted labor, managed a wine bar, taught at a community college, been a personal assistant and office task force and gardened for money.  Currently, I’m a Grisham Fellow in the M.F.A. program at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.  I live with my dog Zoe, a black mutt and reveler of mud puddles.”

James Everett was nominated for Poets Under 30 by Beth Ann Fennelly.