LOCUSPOINT: Atlanta, August 31, 2009

Atlanta inspired editor Jim Elledge to muse, “Place is never simply itself. Place is always something additional, something we bring to it: the way a trumpeter brings breath to the horn or a harpist’s fingers bring vibration to the strings. Air and movement. Song.”

Here’s a poem from that edition by Collin Kelley called “Controlled Burn”:

Controlled Burn

It’s as if the apartment is on fire,
smoke clinging low to the ground,
a filthy sweet fog rolling in from
the southwest to dirty up the city.

In the barbecue restaurant, all tang
and wood scented, every eye
is fixed on the news, necks craned,
as anchors with serious voices
express concern, but no answers,
then cut to war in the Middle East
while tongues go back to licking ribs.

Later, it will be explained as a series
of human errors, 3,000 acres burning,
misunderstanding of wind patterns,
and inevitable oversight panels,
so someone can take the blame.

Driving home, sun filters through
the haze, sets every skyscraper on fire,
a preamble to coming night, and the air
smells like past and premonition.

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