By Reason’s Fright and Firelight by George Rawlins

I took back my college reading list, hid
from Tom behind a crispy Tristam

Shandy, unread but bookmarked with a yellowed
Dear John, an opera played upon a Sahara

of pages foxed by dribbled Scotch. So much
depends on expectation, to sing

for supper, to sleep fat after long
affectations dull their edges. We’ll

defend our sense of self, Tom, back
to back in the field of play, where euphemism’s

our weapon of choice, and never more
will reason slouch forlorn in this study, vessels

ambered by fire, beneath smirking
hands, at two and ten, of the mantle clock.
Photo by Craig Adderley on

About the Poet:

George Rawlins has recent publications in Chiron Review, The Common, New Critique (UK), New World Writing, and One Hand Clapping (UK). He lives in California. His forthcoming poetry collection, Cheapside Afterlife (April 2021, Longleaf Press at Methodist University), reimagines in 57 sonnets the life of the 18th-century poet Thomas Chatterton.

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