COREY MESLER is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, Cranky, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, published by Algonquin Books. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. Nice blurbs from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, and others. He has a new novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, just out from Livingston. His latest four poetry chapbooks are Chin-Chin in Eden (2003) and Dark on Purpose (2004),Short Story and Other Short Stories (2006), and The Heart is Open (2006). He also claims to have written, “Pleasant Valley Sunday” Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband.
BORN AMONG US
We took them to the village
because we were proud of them.
We said, look, these were ours.
We offer them, heartily.
Well, if not proud of them
we were glad they occurred in our
midst, as if by sortilege,
though the village seemed
better suited to their idiopathy.
If not proud, maybe proud is
putting too fine a point on it, we
were glad to have once had
them near us, born among us like
spawn, like wheatgrass. The village,
though, yes, the village should take them in.
Maybe, some of us believe this is so,
we were not so much glad as
interested. Some of us were
very interested in their coming about.
The interest waned though, I
would be foolish not to admit that.
So, really, in the end, we were
happy to let go of them, to
let the village take them in and
nourish them and school them in
normality. It was too much for us.
To be honest, in the end, we
were flat out frightened of them.
Seriously, they scared the hell out of us.