Rob Talbert

Neo Prayers

Blessed be the butterflies
who inhabit the metropolis of flowered fields.
Whose only litter is pollen and borrowed air.
Buddhists of the insect phylum believing the sky
is more deserving of blue. Who grow paintings
without practice or failure on the very limbs
that carry them off without stingers or teeth
or claws. Army of condensed gentleness
who dream of colors never discovered or invented
and never will be. Whose afterlife is a place
of endless daisies and kind wind
laden with our unconfessed desires to kiss
those who flew away and we watched them go.

I slammed the front door and you kicked it open.
We traveled in this manner to the core of the apartment,
yelling and sending dogs in the rooms around us
into dog madness. Where did you get such strength?
In those hours when being a coward was the right way
to live, I have no clue exactly what instance we became
a mess of arms and hair pushing about and against
the dresser and walls. The lamps and alarm clock
tumbling off in our wake. You have but one scream
for both sex and fights so I didn’t trust it
when you stopped first. You, breaker of doors.
You clung to my torn shirt, breathing heavy but motionless.
It was how you were saying wait. Wait. But I was certain
the second I dropped my guard you’d lay me out.
So I refused to let you close, and when you knew it
you ran out of the room and I didn’t follow.

Rob Talbert was born and raised in San Antonio, TX. His work has been selected for Best of the Net and multiple Best New Poets nominations. Rob’s work can be found in publications such as Alaska Quarterly, American Poetry Review, Inkwell, Painted Bride Quarterly, and others. Currently, he is completing his MFA at Virginia Tech University.

“When I lived in San Antonio, I was in this band that met for practice at the bass player’s house. Every week Sam, Brian, Pablo, and I would play until exhaustion, and afterward spend a few hours sitting on the front porch. We’d drink beers, smoke cigarettes, and talk with our ears still ringing from Pablo’s cymbals. The wind was always warm and the stars were insane in the sky. Sam had these big dogs, and I could see their silhouettes pacing around in the yard, sniffing for something. Our girlfriends and wives were often well drunk by then, and we could hear them laughing and screaming inside the house. I can still remember how dark and infinite the porch and the yard looked at night. There was so much space, and I was among creators.”


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