Two Poems by Shaun Turner

Impressions Before Leaving

I made a list of things that could carry water:

clouds, a bottle, the swollen barrens of my body, 

its odor like nickels clenched in a fist. 

I felt the change in the air before I could name it.

First, the plastic bag and it's rustle, stolen

into my greedy pocket. 

Then felt the tension slick around my throat like oil–

I made a plan–take what I could. 

I could survive.

I could survive off so little. 


Instructions for Leaving

Have a path planned. 

Make your path as wide as the space

between you and anyone else in your life. 

Fill it with intention. Each day

place a small, needful object away

for when you'll need it most:

money, of course, and 

whatever you can carry

in the secret film of daylight. 

Or bring nothing with you

but the clothes on your back

and your body–baby, just drive.

Shaun Turner is the author of The Lawless River (Red Bird Chapbooks) and recipient of an Emerging Artist Award from the Kentucky Arts Council. Shaun Turner serves as Fiction Editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection and co-editor at Fire Poetry Journal. His fiction, nonfiction, and poetry can be found in such literary journals as the Chattahoochee Review, Bayou Magazine, Still: The Journal and the Appalachian Review, where he won the Denny C. Plattner award in Fiction.