Outflows are exceeding the inflows
the ledger is entirely off I left
work with an infected tooth

the light fixtures are separating from the ceiling
dark as the shadow across the great ledger
we have been found to be insolvent

so it feels like ethics don’t really exist
morality is a luxury the limestone hills
roll off toward the suspension bridge

yoked across the colorado river knifing
the hill country splitting all the accounts
reminding us that everything requires payment

and the goal as always is to stand beside that river
and divert some little channel for yourself.


clara lee you faltered
it all became too much
if life was just like dating
we were always going dutch

your spirit high and noisome
I shuddered in the hall
put you on a pedestal
tho hoping you might fall

if ice is on the branches
no stream is in the brook
I never took my chances
you cried so hard you shook

but still we are so hopeful
while snow is on the ground
has anybody ever left
this godforsaken town?

— Wallace Barker lives in Austin, Texas. His most recent collection “Collected Poems 2009-2022” is available from Maximus Books. His travel poetry collection “La Serenissima” is available from Gob Pile Press. More of his work can be found at http://wallacebarker.com.

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