NEW PASTORAL By Ginger Harris



we sit at the bar at the American Legion
next to a sign protesting protesting
and another sign instructing
that we always remember September 11th

and above the door, a shotgun in a dusty case,
a hand-drawn sign of a flag
with “Desert Storm” in red marker

locals laboring
over countertops
finding home where the walls honor
their trauma, pain stuck

in their limbic systems
with nowhere
to go
but through


a sweet old man, unabashedly toothless
introduces himself, insists

on buying us champagne
which they serve in large shot glasses—

cheers he says, while the others
grudgingly chime in

forgive for a time our city accents
our differences

sticking heavy
like a mask


there is a local elderly couple
eloping soon, like us—
but only for the social security money

so that now, when he goes
she’ll finally have enough to live on

and he’ll rest easy
knowing he took care of someone
in this life. she doesn’t have
long left

but what she has
she will get to keep

until the end, a win-win
if there ever was one


we pass old farms
sprouting nothing
but trash as if from cataclysm

I think home
things multiplying—
newspapers, broken tools, car parts
bills paid and unpaid
plastic toys caked in mud

a crop of excess, if anything else grew
you couldn’t tell—
no flock no herd no rich soil

so much space

it’s become a heavy burden
crushing under
such weight

like an invasive species
telling in time the whole story

By Ginger Harris


Ginger Harris is an emerging writer who lives in Denver. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she also studied creative writing.

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