-- Who ordered me to tear the down
   the doors of my own pride.


When walking past my house alone, I always
notice the power lines that feed my hungers
at night.  The visions, the games, the words
flowing into a documentary of how I wasn't
supposed to evolve, or rather, what I shouldn't
have evolved into, which, when I pass my house
and begin looking at the next house, I know
what I wasn't envisioned to be.  When I talk
to my old friends on the phone, I'm looking
for them to remember me as I was, and they
sometimes become disconcerted when I speak
to them as though they were the person I knew
when I was the person I still like to remember.
My recollection of those long nights becomes a drab
elegy, impersonal even to the person I remember,
and when I put down the phone, I recall those
power lines running into the veins of my house,
into the television set that enters my conscious
when I remove myself from my presence,
a wheelchair squeaking its way from the room.
Tell me, why are power lines and their electric blood
not enough to kill me through some association.
Why must I touch bone and skin to socket
to understand that what I am isn't always there.

Chris Talley


The web still worked-its maker
hung dead in the strands creviced

in the windowsill.  Outside, the road
forgot itself under blue shadows

of snow.  I thought I forgot my life
by that window.  At dusk,

I went back and brushed off
the woodpile, then banged ice

from the firewood-a splinter bit
through glove to my hand.  Wanting

to shout at that still and massive cold,
I could only breathe your name.

Chris Talley
CHRIS TALLEY is a writer living in North Carolina, with work forthcoming or recently appearing in Crazyhorse, Boulevard, and Atlantis.