Two Poems / by Chas Holden


Off-roading our way to Damascus, 
Ohio, in an army-surplus jeep
with its foxtail of dust.
My brother, who fancies himself a carpenter
though he’s scarcely built a passable chair,

                 Remember that humble row of sunflowers
                 in the shade of the old folk’s home?
                 The only one that grew to blooming
                 had its head cut off by trust-funded children.

To which, my other brother, backseated,
the fisherman who can barely catch kelp,

                 I saw a slender girl at the ramparts, crumbling
                 her rationed bread on the sun-soaked stone, so
                 crows would leave the corpses alone. But
                 what bird would pick crust over blood?

Meanwhile, I white-knuckle the steering wheel
and do my best to keep our tires trained
to the ruts that seem made for us.




Driving Though Oil Country

Scattered across stunted
cornfields, flocks of heavy
metal birds—buzzard-hunched,
crow-black—peck fixed
beats, sucking crude through
greased mosquito beaks.





Chas Holden was raised outside the DC beltway, received his MFA from Eastern Washington University, and now lives and works in Seattle. Some of his earlier poems can be found in 5x5, Belletrist Coterie, Neon, and Hot Metal Bridge.