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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 4, December 2014

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Brian Zimmer
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA


Heat Rises

Four days of hell to clear my system. A tabula rasa, we start to chart the trajectory of the new medication. Where does fear of nothing come from? The free-floating anxiety that attaches like an embryo to the wall?

Mist and dew divide,
the red hibiscus unwinds,
heavy with moisture
in the newly risen sun.
He tells me I look better.

I wear my mother's face when cycling at either end of the spectrum. Why are we so unkind to her memory, saying all the things that needed to be said when it's too late? It's so easy to be unjust to the dead. The cowardice confuses me.

"One day they will discover what they call my nerves is physical. It will be treated differently then." She spoke from what she knew was true. I remember feeling sorry for her when I wasn't her prey.

The house remains cool
But my hair and neck feel damp.
Is it the new med
or the quickly rising heat
on the late summer river?

I used to admire the pretty pills placed on their tray next to the kitchen sink, carefully counted-out each evening before bed to be taken next morning. I recall the alluring names of those primitive drugs with their terrible side effects: Tofranil, Librium, Elavil, Placydyl. Colorful as candy, some so small I wondered how they could do anything, pills even I wouldn't have choked on. The tray kept out of reach of the baby. The quick shout from the kitchen: "Come quick! I've dropped a pill!," answered instantly.

I begin again.
Beginnings are what I do.
Starting at the source
there's no way of foretelling
eventual length or breadth.

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