Joe Fletcher

“Joe Fletcher grew up in Michigan and received an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts. Currently, he lives in Carrboro, North Carolina and teaches at North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gulf Coast, jubilat, Poetry International, Slope, Octopus, Hollins Critic, Hoboeye, MoonLit and elsewhere. A chapbook, “Sleigh Ride,” is forthcoming from Factory Hollow Press.”

Joe Fletcher: Three Poems


On the way I passed temples
and improvised ceremonies
conducted in hushed voices
in the blue shade of arches.
Cabbage heads floated
in a tub of dirty water.

A woman's skin was scuffed
by lice. We shared a cigarette
while the laughter of carpenters
splashed against the buildings
and us. I felt replenished
just watching things:

A ferry churned. A goose
marshaled her young through
a tunnel of brittle stalks.
We entered a building
time had half-eaten.
Fading graffiti insulted us.

I roused myself to partake
of the dialogue sparked with
conflict. The room stank
from a shattered olive jar.
We were yearning
in our shirts. If the nurse

wouldn't come I would
invent her and call her Gloria
and believe in her strongly.
I left to follow my telluric arc,
with my whalebone slingshot
and the flask given me

by the pilot in the bathroom
who furiously scrubbed
at a wine-stain on his collar.
Thus began the migration,
the eschewing of books, the sky
profuse with orbs and orb-streaks.

I wandered beneath their aegis,
in the company of oblong clouds
cascading behind monuments.
I had a few folkloric tokens with
which to impress the children.
The animals watched

with indifference from their
indentations. A spray of glass
winked from the road shoulder.
I muffled my radio with the tattered
coat I found. There was blood on it.
The blood was mine.

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Posted in ISSUE #3 FALL 2007 | Tagged , | Leave a comment