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Getting Yourself Home

by Douglas Cole

I’m walking home from Charlie and Yumi’s house. Maybe it’s after one. Mist is sliding through the live oak trees, and I’m figuring out  the geometry of Virginia Street and Euclid Avenue where they meet.  Orange fuzz glowing from my hands. My eyes extend in all directions.  Can you imagine how quiet it is? That’s why I’m so surprised when the police car appears.  I thought I had that covered. They roll down the window. Too cold to get out. “Hey,” one cop says, “You hear anyone screaming?  We got a report of someone screaming around here.” How can he be so calm with black caterpillars crawling all over his face?  Now, imagine a power-lifter doing a clean-and-jerk on a bar loaded with twice his weight and you might get the idea of what it takes for me to open my mouth and say, “No.” The patrol car slithers off into the mist, blue light burning a trail  I feel like static electricity as I walk through it.

Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry and a novella. His work has appeared in several anthologies as well as The Chicago Quarterly Review, The Galway Review, Bitter Oleander, Louisiana Literature and Slipstream. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart and Best of the Net and received the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry. He lives and teaches in Seattle.  His website is


Archive, The River

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