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  You could have a big dipper   

Inheritance by Sam Barbee

At home I finish watching Battleship Potemkin,

the B&W classic, sit through each montage

of demise and mutiny. After the final segment,

I stand on my porch steps with an unlit cigarette.

Chart dusk and emerging moon, each a caveat

shaded plum and grim. Winter craves dawn,

weary of midnight freeze, eager to settle cyclic myths

overnight. Limbs sag: ice frozen on bellies, blunted

stems around the garden idle as grey sky

only I can restripe with light or dark. Charcoal

clouds shimmer, relax in listless night – solidarity

with their tranquil lyric, I do not strike the match.

Inside, nested across our couch, I stroke the cat’s back,

ears to arching bronze tail tip. She rolls so I rub her belly,

all paws erect. We scroll the viewer’s guide for a joyful film.


Sam Barbee has a new collection, Uncommon Book of Prayer (2021, Main Street Rag). His poems recently appeared in Poetry South, Literary Yard. His collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was nominated for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best 2016poetry collections; a Pushcart nominee.

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