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  • History, and: The End Has Not Yet Passed Over Us
  • Jacques J. Rancourt (bio)


In that endless season of dead grassand rotted pumpkins, I was a boywho stood in a tree and named all the cows

in the field beside my house after sodas.I’d go to Jeb’s while his mother was out,and we’d wear her white satin dresses—

basketball boobs, stitches stretched.We lip-synced in our newlyassigned roles, Whitney Houston

and Céline Dion, sequined sasheswrapped around our buzzed heads,dancing breast to breast, a distance

we couldn’t close. Our fluid handsat the chorus, “You were historywith the slamming of the door,” reaching

for our chests, each other’s chests,the floor. The dresses we discardedonto the card table, the sky purpling

past dusk. When he asked me to staybecause his mother wasn’t home yet,he understood the looming weight

of the world, unlike mewho flapped through my childhoodcarelessly as a flag. Because I didn’t know then

his father raped him, because I hadno language for the windI couldn’t see, I spent hours

in that tree naming everything7Up, Mountain Dew, Royal Crown,Moxie, Sprite, Orange Crush. [End Page 176]

The End Has Not Yet Passed Over Us

That God first placed an angel    with a flaming sword to guardEden’s closed gates, that He gave us    signs to declare a different logic,but when the horse of death rode through town

it could not stop for me who invited it,    who reached out my hand to feelmy fingers course through its wet mane.    That pleasure’s excess could poison,that we could be punished even further—

I knew. Snow falls. Termites eat out    the tree’s giant heart. I wishI’d promised to stay changeless    had I been changed. I wish the geraniumback to bloom, the fire back to the candles

the children carried through the orchard    the night I watched the womanflatten the snake with her foot    just to see how much blood it held.I’ve been careless, yes, and spared,

and it had nothing to do with God. All    eventually comes to light—the horsefound stiff in a field and snow-filled; the angel    in the hangar with lesions across his cheek,his sword drawn low, no longer defined by fire. [End Page 177]

Jacques J. Rancourt

Jacques J. Rancourt’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, and Gulf Coast. A 2012–2014 Stegner Fellow, he was also the recipient of a Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and a work-study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.



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pp. 176-177
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