Brandon Rushton

Imitate Inanimate

or, in other words, play dead. A pack of dogs has come
!50! down with a sickness from the mountains

and they sit and wait all day at the edge of playgrounds.
!50! Leaving the same prints

that have been seen all season. Luckily, three quarters
!50! of the middle school curriculum is Minesweeper

so the boys bury pipe bombs in the top soil. Using one word
!50! to describe his family the student says: fragmented.

After the cloud of dogs has done its work we’re left to figure
!50! form is the least of our worries. It’s tough to identify

but at night the pastures gallop, the scene is not entirely equestrian.
!50! Amidst it all, a husband returns home as her lover

descends from the house and sprints across the subdivision
!50! in his undershorts. It is time to acknowledge

it is only acceptable to be adulterous when we deem it necessary.
!50! It’s when we’re at our best, adjudicating.

A school bus passes a cornfield only for the scarecrows
!50! to be unmoved by the faces being made at them.

In danger, our go to posture is apathetic. It’s best for hanging
!50! on a clothesline. Face it, we’ve left ourselves out to dry.

This is how far following our guns has gotten us. Still, though
!50! the neighborhood kids understand the bear traps

have long been planted in the pasture and that, with a stick
!50! could be coaxed out of hiding.

Brandon Rushton’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, CutBank, Passages North, THRUSH, and others. He holds an MFA from the University of South Carolina where he served as the editor of the literary journal Yemassee, and continues to teach writing. Born and raised in Michigan, he now lives (with Mara and Juan) and writes in Charleston, South Carolina.