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  • Study for a Flat Earth
  • Charlie Bondhus (bio)

The Alien Cathouse is a Nevada brothelwhere the girls dress in glowing

latex, big black contactlenses, pulling sad-eyed

men with jawslike donkeys. One grumbled

lines from Hart Crane—"A jest fallsfrom the speechless caravan"—and I thought

about the planet and my needto invent proverbs—"Blessed are

the lighthouse keepers, for theirs is the beam that cutsthe flat earth," or "you would hate it in the desert

where the saguaro's yellowflowers bloom only at night."

Nevada makes me think of streptomycin,and when I left Brooklyn

all I remembered was a bookon a shelf and orange tabbies

on a fire escape.The title was Study for a Flat Earth

and I wanted very much to take itwith me but the voice of God—common

to deserts—spoke of "the nightsky's indigenous smell" and how

virtue in its highest form resembles "lightscircling a UFO's perimeter." Later, [End Page 46]

when she removed her maskI saw she was neither

beautiful nor plain:the kind of lady who,

if pressed, I would have to describe as"A most handsome woman." [End Page 47]

Charlie Bondhus

Charlie Bondhus's second poetry book, All the Heat We Could Carry (Main Street Rag, 2013), won the 2014 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His work has appeared in Poetry, The Missouri Review, Columbia Journal, and The Bellevue Literary Review. He's the poetry editor at The Good Men Project (



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pp. 46-47
Launched on MUSE
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