“History” by Justin Runge

Justin Runge


Here is what I’ve collected: He set fire to the front lawn. She learned and then forgot the guitar. Like all daughters, she was a vegetarian. He was sent to school on the mountain. She would run through the mountain. Their siblings stood in the way. The mountain was beautiful but merciless. Its trees loomed like chaperones. He took to botany. She slept in the haunted room. After the growth spurt, he was a natural athlete. She worked at a fast food restaurant. Both left without diplomas. He sat in a bunker, catching moths. She would walk to a payphone in the center of town. They would solve crossword puzzles days late. He escaped on a motorcycle, as in his favorite songs. They married on her birthday. Her hair was never longer. She left a home imploding. He had a television and a frying pan. They made mistakes—pepper oil, poison ivy. They had one child, then me.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012


Justin Runge: “Poems hold a recollective power. They’re objects of memory. But they’re not simply keepsakes to store; they find vitality as they find readers. I can’t think of any pursuit more gratifying than this—to transfer my life into flashes of art, and for that art to have its own life outside of me.” (website)

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