Cotton says
Chris Mink
Nothing so clean 
as destruction.

He plays Cricket 
with a ply board
so he can sling knives at it, 	

backs up past regulation, 
feels the blade 
in the fold of his finger, 
takes a crow hop 
and sends the dagger
end over end,

fractures veneer. 
Wood pustules on the bull

while I cast a skinny
shimmer in the porch lamp.

His teeth are dirtied 
diamonds not even 
a pickax could undo. 
They reckon their own flicker. 


Cotton says only one way
to watch a thunderstorm:
In jeans.  Shine your shoes, 
and tuck them 
like swaddled newborns
deep in a linen closet.
Sneak like sin into front 
yard grass that skates 
the road's border. 

Let the flash and crack 
shake down your shoulders
the way her fingernail behind
your ear triggers your shiver,
open up, and make a final meal
of every petri-dished particle. 


He wants to race Kawasakis,
sprint style, sixty yards a man.

It's a hundred and hell 
in the shade, 
where I pray silent, 
wishing I could just 
send my shirt, 

let it light out 
like a bastard.

No one has worn 
a shirt since July.


A thousand red-back
fire ants labor 
safe in a poison pile.

And if no doubts
belong to Him,
Cotton says,
all the more 
reason to throw 
ourselves like a handful
of carnations from Wallace Point, 
muscles torqued, 
with best condolences 
for the Black Warrior River
scatting its missives below.
No grand chorus on our parts, 
just an exhale. 

Chris Mink was born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was a finalist for the 2014 Tupelo Press Berkshire Prize, and semi-finalist for the 2014 Saturnalia Poetry Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Hobart, Anti-, Star 82 Review, and It Was Written: An Anthology of Poetry Inspired by Hip-Hop, among others. He currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida, where he will receive his PhD in English from Florida State University in December 2014.

more by Chris Mink:
Last Peanut Woman
Daylight as a Chainsaw
A King Dies With His Bloodhounds in the Hay