beaded trout

Before I Forget

You see the way the

hills rise up and to

the left? There is no

distance between the

stones, they just hold

on to each other and

wait for the rain.

You show me the site of

your accident: how long,

how far away. We mark

off the distance in humid

stone-worn blacktop steps.

I need to hold you now

before I forget, before

the air turns clear in my

mind before you have the

chance to smile and turn

away. My arms are too

heavy at the end of the

day and the bolts have

loosened leaving my fingers

unattached and my wrists

and shoulders rusted in

July. My hair aches at the

roots and we count out 100

steps. That's how far the

car slid before ceasing to

be beneath the long arms

of an oak or a maple or

whatever the hell it was that

brought you to an abrupt

stop. I know what blood is,

how it tastes - iron or copper -

salty and somehow elusive

as it slips out and away,

thousands of cells like

hand-shaped angels trying to

wrap fingers around arteries trying

to stop their life from

returning to the earth.

For a short time we lay

on our backs so I can

see the world upside down

and in your head—what it was

to hear the stones singing

the ancient songs; something

classical, maybe, something

like thousands of note

shaped angels popping in

and out of existence like

thousands of angel shaped

bubbles. Maybe a music

box, soothing and comforting

like your father sitting on

your bedside in the early

morning; like tomato soup;

like thousands of angels

shaped like your mother

tsking and worrying and

wondering if you made

your bed. Maybe like

snow or rain or summer

air written in braille on the

back of your hand,

upside down, so you can

read it on your back

or in the dark without

a flashlight or the moon.

And I need to hold you

now before I forget

what blood feels like

around your bones, your

ribs, flowing into your

heart, before we remember

that our future is just

a blank page where no

more words are etched

onto bare skin. Here and

here is where I wrote

your name for the last

time. Here, but not

here, only in the

blood now, that tastes

like lavender or cypress

or whatever the air tastes

like in late July. And

before I forget your face

I remember the rocks

and the stars and

the air and the dusk

all around us. making

mountains our of mountains

turning memory to mist

weaving you and I

together in the tapestry of

a story about a summer
br /> that neither of us

will remember at the

end of the threads. So I

point over your shoulder

beyond the grass where

metal found its resting place

and I show you how to

hold the wheel when

you spin out of control.And I whisper to

just enjoy the ride like

the raindrops who

never despair when

they stop falling or

the stones who never

learned to count so they

have no sense of time or
distance, just a vague

notion of light and dark

and the deep feeling of

existence warm and

thick, like the air

between us as you

smile and turn away from me.

Lee Francis IV

contents of issue 2

Before I Forget
Lee Francis IV

The Man They've Come to See
Edward Dang

Datura's Embrace
Anne Karpiak

Lorraine Cathey

Sandy Eastoak

Indira Allegra

there will be singing in the morning
ire'ne silva

Dawes Commission: Found Poem
Qwo_Li Driskill

Lee Francis IV Biography

Lee Francis IV is the National Director of Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers and a PhD student at Texas State University - San Marcos. He is a national champion slam poet and his work has appeared in numerous journals and collections, most recently "How To: multiple perspectives on creating a garden, a life, relationships and community." He lives in Austin, Texas with his beautiful wife, amazing son, and crazy dog

Permission to publish poems in this one context was granted by the authors, who unless otherwise specified, hold copyright on these works.