Forrest Rapier


The river makes people go crazy—
I’m from a hurricane alley
where weather comes home angry-drunk,

& crushes the fishing pier like it’s a popsicle stick
model of a spinal cord I built for the science fair.
When I brought the glued-wreckage to class,

six-hundred strange teeth laughed at schooldesks,
& I misspelled ‘nationalism’ in the gymnasium.
Where I’m from, neighborhood

avenues have street fruit names, an asphalt canopy—
Orange, Cherry, Lemon. Glen died at Seawalk Pavilion,
& Danyelle shot her neck off in a Queen

bed near Egret’s Bluff—I know Glen paints light
over Panhandle forests while Danyelle climbs
sanity’s cliff. Haloed-zero friends of mine

spacewalk moon pistils, & tongue nectar
with alien hummingbirds on Neptune’s abandoned
beach—we fly flocks of V’s over frozen oceans.

Forrest Rapier is a recent MFA graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the recipient of a University Poetry Prize awarded by the Academy of American Poets. His work appears in Saw Palm, The Greensboro Review and Best New Poets.