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LOCAL COLOR / Dave Smith At low tide the barnacles emerged moss-bearded, necklaced gleamers along the ashen shanks of a pier long abandoned to the mud's shimmer. They gathered into clusters, pale-crowned as stars coming out above December's slack waters. One side of each was wholly given to darkness. Nothing could change that, no lover's touch, no atomic winter, none of the hammering waves hurled from far out by no visible force—yet now the sea was indifferently blue hke the eye in a beached fish and the breeze charmed in with that tang of salt you taste in fresh tears. You could walk this lip of land and look close where so many had nailed themselves to hold on, just that, and it was the shell's ripping color you drew to, the fiery ectoplasmic upspurting shades hidden in those bone-house skulls bent to the only things that meat would ever know. Your life would not change for having seen this. The scene went on as it was while seas gathered, and ships swayed coming in, and the shore rocked. But, walking on, you remembered that first color. Beneath it skidding on the ooze of flesh, things moved like mutants over black wood, foot by foot. 62 · The Missouri Review SEXUAL ODOR / Dave Smith Circling through the veil of black air soft as the fur of a just gulleted mouse, with honeysuckle's thousands of green throats opening, gardenias quick, you pull to the curb of the small town. The caution light's yeUow deepens, its impulse like breath squeezing the darkness closer. Just to be here is almost enough, stuporous under a great oak's shght shimmy of leaves, everything shut up, still. But it returns, the staring at placid walls, dark lawns, the certainty that passion has lifted its eyelid, has drawn its rubied lips back, accepting you at last. Top down, the convertible bears you, a ghost like youth in America, missing one beat repeatedly as its big-cam heart drones. It is summer again, another hot night candling the South. Sweat above her Up, she says, you'll never see me again. You drink some. Doors open, some slam. When will the shadows by the hedge peel apart, that sUkness cUmb in, fill the air with her nameless, sharp odor? You're beginning to feel it, aren't you, the violence cruising inside, zigzagging as she does at night in that cool skin, stepping past indolent moccasins who are said to give off a sexual smell when they want the homing touch of their kind. The Missouri Review · 63 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 62-63
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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