Leveler Poetry Journal
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Inside the Belly


When the light strikes your face

at just the right angle, I can almost

see our future, all bright and shiny

in your eyes is something I heard

Rufus say five times in the same evening

to different women with the same

results.  I don’t know anyone

named Rufus, but I hope he

finally made it, found happiness,

grew into his body, which was clumsy

and slow like a John Deere tractor

bringing traffic to a grinding halt

is the first verse of a song I heard

on my car stereo during a road trip

past the corn fields of Indiana.  Do you

believe there are angels whose whole job

is to salvage all the fragments,

all our half-finished efforts?

Where was I?  Oh right, Indiana.

It swallowed me up because I said

I’ll be damned before I move to Kentucky

I heard a preacher say while he

lassoed a snake above his head.

Something I ate had poisoned me.

I was starting to feel it.  My stomach

testified and a perfumed woman in

a large straw hat shouted Amen.

Tom Hunley