concrete sidewalks cut through suburbs that dial 911, call
ma’am, what’s your emergency? there’s a man outside, praying
I think, he’s not from here, he’s not from
here—branched streets of three-story houses and flat
screen TVs, asbestos walls beyond, mildew in doorframes, three
shotgun blasts. the suspect was addicted to meth. his child

was matthew, mark, isaac, abe.

powerlines guard green corn and butternut, hollowed,

hung to dry, homes for bluebird and chickadee.
plastic umbrella and table sell local
honey, running chattahoochee red, rich
with clay. past corn and squash are clapboard
farm stall and handmade sign: fresh boiled peanuts.
‘boiled’ drawls like a child’s cry and the sign sizzles
in summer. stars and bars swing,
washing on the line. a family friend won
a prize for filming the klansmen in ’87:
satin robes ironed by their wives, crosses
doused in gasoline. your phone burns
with photos. april’s hoods.

the peanuts taste like tar and brine.

Siobhan Mulligan is a writer, artist, and maker of things, with an eye towards poetry and speculative fiction. Her poem “Sculpting” won first place at the 2018 Southern Literary Festival. Originally from Atlanta, GA, she is a student on the MLitt Creative Writing program at the University of Glasgow and currently considers the UK home. She can be found on Twitter as @myhomextheroad.

Photo by Jakob Braun on Unsplash

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