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Danielle Cadena Deulen
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In Movies, The Apocalypse

is always nigh, drives the ache
in the head of the unsung genius
deeper as he circumnavigates

the earth in his grey submarine,
the soft green glow of a warhead
within it.  He looks like a savior

but he is disturbed, kept awake
at night by angels hammering
scenes of heaven onto his walls.

On the mainland, people remain
hysterical about the world’s end
as they engineer its quickening,

aiming their nuke at the oceanic
trench where, of course, the genius
is not.  One man can save them

but he is very drunk, heartbroken-
drunk, and hasn’t shaved for days.
He cares not about humanity

stretching out into nothing, wants
only the miraculous black of sleep,
or for his beautiful dead wife to

awaken and smile at him as she once
did in the love montage of his mind.
In this script, sadly, he won’t rouse

from the crook of his elbow on the bar.
A housefly circles his bitter beer as
the mainlanders aim, press the red

button, grasp each other in slow-motion
joy, some of them leaping into the air, up
and up as the missile they believe will

save them dives down and down and down.

 

 

When I Belonged to a Southern City

The city was small, not even a city.
There was a neighborhood here,
a hospital there, but nothing connected
by roads.  It was a city without cement
or intersections yet the lonely streetlights
kept changing, hoping for something
to be built.  Blond beauties with red
lips and pointed shoes stumbled over
rocks and weeds, or else the cloth jackets
of their valiant men who threw them
over the sullen land, though the jackets,
so soaked in mud, seemed woven of mud.
But the women remained very gracious
and thanked them.  They drank mint
juleps at the edge of the forest where
they raced their unbridled horses on
invisible tracks.  The wild horses ran
into each other as the people chatted
weather and delighted at the collisions,
their mud stained suits and shoes shining.
They laughed. They cheered. They drank.
Their horses galloped spirals, died of thirst.
They called themselves very fine fellows.

 

 

The Sirens

From here you sound like wounded dogs
wailing on the sea.

Don’t change course.  Don’t swim out to us.

We sing for each other.  What you have heard
was never meant for you at all.

 


DANIELLE CADENA DEULEN is the author of three books and a chapbook: Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us (2015), which won the Barrow Street Book Contest, American Libretto (2015), which won the Sow’s Ear Chapbook Contest; The Riots (2011), which won the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction and the GLCA New Writers Award; and Lovely Asunder (2011), which won the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize and the Utah Book Award. She has been the recipient of an Oregon Literary Fellowship, The Renjen Prize for Faculty Excellence, an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, three Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Awards, and a Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellowship. Her poems and essays have appeared in many journals, including The Iowa ReviewThe Kenyon ReviewThe Utne Reader, as well as several anthologies, including Best New Poets, and After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays. She is the poetry editor of Acre Books and lives in Salem, Oregon, where she is an Associate Professor at Willamette University.

 


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