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"Save Me Joe Louis" • Curtis Eller (by Ryan McCarty)


After three days of rain, I smell

micro-organisms brewing and I’ve

only kissed a family member

seven times since sunrise. It would be

ok, but a song about a man’s last

words, in a gas chamber, asking

Joe Louis to save him – it’s an angel’s

trumpet. But what if those clouds

closed the eyes of brothers, fathers,

sons, and lovers forever? What if

executioners, in their beds, floated

away like spores? What if my lungs

fill up, first with songs and then

drowning weights? Nothing to do

but watch the new turkey tails

growing on last year’s fallen trees,

breathing deep, whatever happens next.



Ryan McCarty is a teacher and writer, living in Ypsilanti, MI. He thinks about plants so much that he forgets to ever mow the lawn, and takes it so easy that he sometimes forgets to get tired at night. Somehow, he manages to sleep late on Sundays anyway. Recent work has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Coal City Review, and Abandoned Mine. Visit him on Twitter/X @RyanCMcCarty1 and see what else he's writing on Substack

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