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  • Disguise Game, and: Judith Mountains, and: Immutable
  • Jim Whiteside (bio)

Disguise Game

Strange embrace. The throat’s soft bleating. I wake in the forest dreaming of the forest, studying the lake

reflecting the trees. I’ve played this game before, the one that goes, I’ll be the wolf, and you be

the sheepskin I hide in. You taught it to me some time ago. Take what you will, and take it with salted

tongue. Stay quiet—I’ve always known you best when you weren’t speaking. [End Page 165]

Judith Mountains

Devin Leonardi, acrylic on paper, 2008

The way the mountains here seem to rise out of nothing, an upwelling of something hidden. The way at this hour, in this light, we are all rendered faceless. On nights like these I wait until the day has cooled to make dinner, even then the stove’s small flame making the whole hot house even hotter. Scraps thrown out, the time spent washing dishes, wondering what might exist just beyond our side of darkness. From the turntable a room over, Tchaikovsky soars through the air. The way the needle and the groove fit perfectly, the way when it has finished the arm comes to rest in the cradle, and the disk stops spinning. When you came back from the dead, it was the last thing I’d expected—your broad shoulders, toothy grin, the way the light met your eyes, presented again as if nothing had changed. You, a little more tired, maybe, and somehow thinner than before. Dusk. At this hour, the things that sound like birds are never birds; the mountain, like all those pictures of distant cloud nebulas, growing [End Page 166] imperceptibly larger, and colored every shade of pink. When you came back from the dead, in that light you could hardly see I was speechless. [End Page 167]


Small hawk perched on the fence post, a mourning cloak held in its beak. The dog

has worn the grass, marking in dirt the length

of its chain. The air in this place sits on skin like water. What good’s a body

if I don’t know what to do with it? I ask this

as if you could actually hear me, as if by pointing a gun in the air I could shoot a hole in the sky. [End Page 168]

Jim Whiteside

jim whiteside has an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow. His poems have been published in Kenyon Review Online, Indiana Review, and The Journal. He is from Cookeville, Tennessee, and works as a barista as well as teaches in Greensboro.



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pp. 165-168
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