All the Reasonshttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/askewnew.jpg?fit=745%2C569&ssl=1745569Dionne Custer EdwardsDionne Custer Edwardshttps://barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/dionnecusteredwards.jpg
In a windswept town of few people, everyone pretends
to stay afloat. Otherwise you stand out
among splendor, sapphire in mines, freshwater lake,
a lone pine in the mountains, bit of gold.
Tell one person you love them,
voice breaking, tucked away in feathers.
A week earlier, that one person you never told,
broke into pieces in a red clapboard house.
The church was silent.
The pews filled with people, a box of fresh trembling roses.
Beneath natural beauty, the mountains cannot hold the weeping.
No one talks about sadness.
No one reaches out for help.
Silence is the perfect sign of drowning. Solitude is a reason.
Tell one person about loneliness
in this charming small town of plenty sky and guns.
The health clinic burned down last year.
Who could drive 50 miles to talk about crows to a stranger?
You learn to talk to yourself until you run out of breath,
and the bottle and barrel are empty.
Tell one person about the haunting. Ask about second chances
when the kerosene dries up.
After roadside bombs and the infantry comes home to stones.
After budget cuts, the mind on free will is persistent.
Missing people among old appliance shops and bars;
calling the burns echoes.
Any bit of suffering dwarfed by glory and distance.
Call it beautiful. How the leaves change and panic rises.
Tell one person about all the graves.
About mourning bitterroot, wild pink and vanishing.
Plenty of sunlight hiding all the reasons.
Dionne Custer Edwards is a writer and arts educator at The Wexner Center for the Arts. She created Pages, a writing program where she facilitates arts experiences for high school students, works with artists and teachers on arts integration, and co-edits an anthology of student writing and art. She has work in 3Elements Review, Flock, Grist, The Seventh Wave, Storm Cellar, Tahoma Literary Review, and others. She has an M.A. from Antioch University in Creative Writing and Arts Education and a B.A. from Ohio State University in English. Find her online at lifeandwrite.com.