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Michael J. Vaughn


        Return to Sender                                                                                              I put
        this stamp here, and pray that Aunt Mimi has                                                 no fit
       when she finds it face-down in the birdbath, air bubbles                               rising,
     drowned by some hell’s angel of a postman. Aunt Mimi can’t                   you see I
   live all this way over here so I can launch twenty-pound sheets               across the
  American terra, conniving their force with the seat of my tongue,        saliva inlays
on the back of the Oregon Trail. This is no small precipice; this is something grand,
 this tender devilishment of things finding their way, sidesaddled with the roadhouse
    scrawls of insane relations. You could want nothing more in life than to stand
    before the dead letter office, black veil and armband, scooping up these bits of
     holiness that have no place, no breath, no destiny. Like me, Aunt Mimi. If you
         would rise from that grave just once, if you could gather a single dram of
             gumption and send me a postcard: a shot of the high falls, weary speck
                      of a backpacker squatting at the crest, grinding the name of his
                           administrative assistant into the granite skin, then folding
                                                 up an airplane from his lunchbag, tossing it
                                                          into the water, watching               it fly
                                                             all the                                          way
                                                                 to                                            Reno.


Listen to Michael Vaughn read this poem:



                            A truffle is a truffle because it looks like a
                truffle; a trifle is a rifle gone south. The sky makes so
       much sense. The hunter chases the girls; the big dog trails behind;
      a bull stands at the gate. And the great bear, ready to dig his claws
     into the burberry and spin you away like a retreating galaxy. Even
    on Valentine’s Day, the kid with the arrows should not wake the
   slumbering Ursa. He is truth on four legs and not to be trifled with. The
prisoner queen sits     crookedly on her throne and I am Cygnus, craning
        my neck             into the cosmic wind.          Take away the belief and
                                 astrology          begets         astronomy, dry telescoppery,
                              no longer              engaged          in the              business of
                         seduction.              Even the   serious stars                      are not
                much more                                       than our                    best guesses.


Listen to Michael Vaughn read this poem:



Michael J. Vaughn's ninth novel, Outro, was just released this month. His poetry has appeared in The Montserrat Review, Many Mountains Moving, and The Avatar Review, among others. He has covered the performing arts in the San Francisco Bay area for 25 years. His venture into shape poems was inspired by an assignment from Writer's Digest, which included an interview with legendary shape poet John Hollander. See his blog at writerville.blogspot.com. See the full serial version of Michael's novel Gabriella's Voice at operaville.blogspot.com.

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