Clay Cantrell


The mattress sleeps on my thighs. Kicks
wake me. Time for a quick autumn and aches
quelled by drinking. Time hollow and wooden
pops down a face as the boys carry
playthings out the woods: a dirty pink purse,
empty gas can, shreds of grocery bags.
My heart goes shreds when eyes open.
They see me lying there, mud-slaked, beaten
and they hurry to beat me. I hope winter
comes hard in their cheeks. Time aches
for one more bowl of broth. One more cup
of corn by myself. The boys pop jake-leg
down the rock and my thighs ache so.
I do think the woods a good place to sleep.

Clay Cantrell holds an MFA in creative writing at the University of Memphis. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Sycamore Review, New Delta Review, Midwest Quarterly, and others. He enjoys going to the hardware store and hanging out with his wife, Rachel. He moved to Tulsa in the fall of 2015 to pursue a PhD in literature.