Out of the afternoon, I submit to the bar:
gold strung through firebrick red.

Jim and his daughter are there,
a groundhog story. She’s sad
one ran off with her arrow.
I tell them I’ve seen
a raccoon descend a tree, mad,
resembling Broken Arrow Boy. Five
feet off the ground,

my friend, with abrupt force,
pinned the gray of him
through headlights, to cottonwood.
Upshots arrive

holding a half-live raccoon.
Can we try things out on the dying?
Who isn’t? 

Jim and his daughter visit. There remain
the limes in their long thin glasses.



A stock inlaid with checks for grip, an etched
field scene: numb-wading through
drizzled shot, ripstop fabric
worn out between wishes.

Thighs, a leak of thick seeds pouring from Elvira’s
choral vision, blaze
in rushes.

What rings in my ears rings
in my ears every year.
Flats give back
aluminum tossed high,
outside little barns with target
hearts, where what math I know
is practised.



Justin Cox holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His songs and poems have been featured in Hidden City QuarterlyLong Day Press, and in a variety of cinematic works. He teaches rhetoric at The University of Iowa.