Sunday, People for Miles Everywhere Going Home from Church

by James Everett

Gray sky, clouds all in a rush, air smelled like gunshot.
Almost cold early October, like dreaming men
next to a lake, crowded in the shade, wind off the water, awkwardly dry.
Let’s go back to the sky, the more distant clouds hung gunmetal,
they stretched the length of the day, the day seemed long,
the chill was in that length. The chill was like dusk,
instant cold, immediate drop, ebbing light. Today,
no sun seen, too many clouds, we take dusk on faith,
first dark, then darker.

Given wings, we’d lose the ground fast. Let’s go back
to the sky. Fabled beginning. Place of travel.
Lucifer, Icarus, Ascension of Jesus. Crop dusters.
Airliners. Preying of hawks, circling of buzzards.
How far into the gray to heaven? Push into the sky
too far the light changes, the subtle blends of gray,
the gradation of paradise, all this lets to black.

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.