by Josh Kalscheur

Here the idiot drunks stare down the boys still clearing
the ditch in the rain, culling the slush of vermin-dead,
the purged plugs of black water, the stink. The separated

sludge plumes the tin grooves of failed homes that float. 
Brush-dents flood down to the village. Something joyless
dots the down-slope and settles. Here the boys machete

their names in the taro leaves, swing at whatever hangs
in the undergrowth or smells sweet, swarmed by birds. 
Here they cut condoms into slingshots and slice branches

into guns or daggers. Here the men, sniffing ditto fluid,
watch legs tread the silt. The laughing boys slash
the upturned roots, tamp the pile of palms sinking.

Here they all go soft in the center, edgeless. They throw
clumps of mud from one breadfruit stump to the other
and catch and divide the weight with their knives.

Photo: Josh Kalscheur
Josh Kalscheur is originally from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin and now resides in Madison, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His poems have appeared in, or are forthcoming from, Georgetown Review, Mid-American Review, Fourteen Hills, and New Delta Review, among others. For the past two years, he lived, taught, and coached high school students on the Micronesian island of Weno, which is situated inside the reef of the Chuuk Lagoon.