Twenty poems by Jack Christian that feature among them an all dog chapel of lost dog souls, hillside belief, humaffalos, cryptozoology, and sciences of imaginary solutions. Christian's poetry and criticism has appeared in Jubilat, Black Warrior Review, Mississippi Review, DIAGRAM and more.
RURAL MANAGEMENT from Let's Collaborate (originally appeared in notnostrums*3)
I managed a grocery 40 minutes west of town.
It was a warehouse. It was a place you could direct
a letter toward. I had an office where I read,
and my office was also full of food. On the outside,
the bottom half of the building was painted.
The top half was a natural white. It resembled
a two-dimensional swimming pool. When our shifts ended,
the staff and I would look back at it and consider it
a thing that could be broken effectively, or folded right.
Then, the union came in and insisted: vests or aprons
over blue jeans. “Or” was policy. They wrote it in the aisles
in a script that approximated my handwriting.
It was summer, and both parties moved in a direction
of interconnectedness. The soup display was allowed to occur
in the dairy section. A narrative ambiguity arose,
and through debate, I was permitted to drop another “I” inside.
I did so, and named her my cousin, Allison.
With the market running so well, we coached each other
in child-rearing because we were self-assured experts
on many things. She would say, “the cheese aisle,”
and I would find a manner in which “the cheese aisle”
could repeat. She was sunburned. She sat long sessions
on the curb waiting for her ride. Together, we pushed
a shopping cart into the cattails at the edge of the lot.
We pushed it on the half-path and on the footbridge
across the Mill River. Ice clung in the eddies
and the current curved the ice. It was a bright summer,
and we were working through it.