Andrew Alexander Mobbs
This time, the sweat leaks from curved pools
behind my knees, trickles down my
motionless legs. My legs are turning pale
in a foreign winter. My skin hasn’t breathed
in months. Now, I must run—
barefoot along the tracks, kissing steel,
wood, and rocks. I am the Union Pacific
cutting across America’s heart.
I pass the exact place where a young boy
fed up with life stood and waited for a train
to take him under.
They wrote about it in the newspaper the
next day. They never said the engineer’s eyes
became moons and then went white.
In the woods, everything is asleep. The pines
are bark-stripped. I knew a girl like that once;
my legs are still pale, too.
I pull a locust skin from a branch, stare into
the amber eyes before I crush it into dust
and let the wind lift it from my palm.
There could be someone buried beneath my
sore feet. It is time to stop running.
Here is my routine when a fever breaks:
wash my face, take brightly colored pills,
wonder if my body has betrayed me or
the other way around. Still half-dazed,
I say to no one but myself,
“And you were there, and you, and you.”
Andrew Alexander Mobbs, Arkansas native and vagabond of the world, has been writing poetry for nearly a decade. In 2013, he released his debut poetry collection, Strangers and Pilgrims (Six Gallery Press), and his work has also appeared in Vortex Magazine, Deep South Magazine, New Plains Review, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Calliope, Zetetikon, Gravel Literary Journal, The Montucky Review, The Round, and After Happy Hour Review. He was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee, and he co-founded Nude Bruce Review, a nonprofit online literary magazine, in 2012.