Christopher Prewitt currently lives in Blacksburg, Virginia, with his wife, where he is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees from Alice Lloyd College and Morehead State University and has been involved in education in Kentucky in some form of instructor/tutor capacity for close to a decade. Prewitt’s publications include Suss and Switched-on Gutenberg’s special issue on assemblage, and his honors include the 2008 Thomas Wolfe Student Prize, several Billie & Curtis Owens Creative Writing Contest awards, and the Virginia Tech/Poetry Society of Virginia Prize for the poem “Not Helping a Man in a Wheelchair Get on the City Bus.” Prewitt served as one of the two co-managing editors of Inscape, Morehead State University’s Art & Literary Journal, during the 2009-2010 academic year.
Panegyric for the end
Thank christ the fireflies are dying
a brief yellow green out of reach and chigger bites
ruined summers so long as my hand was just big enough
for a jelly jar on the back porch in a rocker
my dad drank for the heart flat diet coke and whiskey
as he surveyed his pastures in evening’s coral blue
even then I wanted to die
when beauty evaded the jar with a flicker and a lift
and a whole lot of empty was all I had
big enough now to plow the field
he left me
I look forward to fulfilling the promise
that beautiful lack of itch bound for every and each
when the few dim lights hover and ascend away from the jar’s rim
Avoiding the Question
I memorize the beef portions because
difficult questions like, “How old do you
think I am?” gave me second thoughts
about becoming a doctor. John, who’s
not yet thirty, is training me on backline.
When he talks, he tries to keep his mouth closed.
The stubs of his teeth are comparable only to the dried grease
stains on my black shoes. When he flirts
with frontline, or smokes, or drinks too much
Monster Energy he can’t help himself, but mainly
his thing for high-school-seniors-next-fall-blondes with no interest in him
is enough to get him to open up. This summer everyone’s pissed
about crude oil puckering lips with the Gulf shores.
Televised from the Capital, Hayward has mastered avoiding the question.
I don’t blame him. I, too, want the world
to end if I can’t get my life back.
On a Saturday I got married. On Sunday
I caught the drive-thru cashier. She slipped
on the grease from the fryers. It was my fault.
During my interview I told them to use me
however they wanted. John sometimes comes in drunk
but doesn’t want to tell me. He always confesses
to it when I ask, says “I don’t want you to think
less of me.” John, how could I? Because of you
my wife and I can afford lights to watch our ribs
suck in our skin. Because of you I keep my job.
Because of you I have mastered
the crisis of serving others.
At Daniel Boone Plaza in Hazard, Kentucky
Here at Walmart to purchase a shovel
For the mounds of snow that stilled my tires—
And kudos to campus maintenance for that gift,
A clear path in the parking lot
If one could back out and over the shoveled snow
Behind one’s car—
For six hours when I tried to go home for the weekend
Last winter, I stop by Electronics.
With or without high definition, it’s clear:
Coach Cal and his freshmen recruits will redeem
The Wildcat dynasty.
It is good to believe
In a wet county that women’s hair length
Can burp the baby jesus. And if it takes a young man’s intimacy
With every ridge on a basketball to really mean
So be it.
Faith to me has always been
A glass olm (that is, Proteus) in the sternum, something you want to know
By sucking it from another’s sternum/something you prove
By extracting it from others, although it’s useless.
The shovel will sit in my car trunk most of the year.
No snow, no purpose.
If I steal my mother’s cactus
From the kitchen window above her sink,
It will do as much as my hostage as her ornament.
It occurs to me this is love
For some people, so I put the shovel in my trunk
And push the shopping cart down the slope of the lot
On what used to be a rugged hillside.
It was not beautiful. You could do nothing but wince
When you considered its texture,
Although its being cocoa brown was tempting enough
To make you consider licking it, but you were too late.
Commerce has already licked the hillside. Now just look at it.
Gray based with a yellow grid, security cameras
Monitoring everyone’s cars and trucks,
Most of which are stickered with Friends of Coal
And/or Coal Keeps the Lights On—
O how many times by lamplight have I read
“Render unto Cesar what is Cesar’s”
Or left a church
Because god wants me to be rich
As there are only two places to go?
Extraction is faith, and a facility to change your car oil,
Buy groceries, and buy prescription medication
Is a thing of beauty. To be caught in the aisles by kin or neighbor
From long ago,
To drive twenty minutes towards civilization instead of twenty-three.
Look at that cart go.