Four excerpts from Brazil, Indiana (a folk poem) Brian Beatty

Four excerpts from Brazil, Indiana (a folk poem) Brian Beatty

Despite the Classical Revival
courthouse along the National Road

that ran through the middle of town
and the Classic Rock

station down in the static
at the low end of the FM radio dial

Brazil didn’t even
show up as a dot on most

AAA or free gas station maps
of Indiana.

Civic leaders blamed our renowned
high school mascot, the Devil.

****

I used to fall asleep
to the flapping of those colored flags
above the car dealership

at the corner of Highways 40 and 59.

They weren’t as bright at night
but the wind was as relentless as
a salesman walking the lot after dark

like a coyote with a month-end quota to make.

Almost everybody else complained
the plastic applause kept them awake
so I have no idea if they ever dreamed.

I’m still in love with mine.

****

We stood at the window watching
as every kid’s favorite school janitor
shoveled loose dirt onto a pile
of our outdated textbooks.

He was knee-deep in the ditch
where the woods began beyond
our playground.

It was a perfect first funeral
for most of us — especially after
it started to rain.

Our teachers didn’t say a word.
They didn’t exist.

****

The school hired a magician who
brought an albino bunny for an assistant.

Its pink, unblinking eyes stared

through the children assembled there

in the auditorium as if that rabbit waslong-630904_1920
thinking of ways to disappear for good.

I would’ve been, in his cage — no matter
how chrome. Often I contemplated

the fire alarm and the dark woods looming

just beyond the playground. But I never dared.

I knew better. Or thought I did.
It was years before I understood regret.

****

BEFORE THE RAZOR button ver 2

razor icon Brian Beatty’s jokes, poems and short stories have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including The Bark, The Chattahoochee Review, The Cimarron Review, Conduit, Dark Mountain, Elimae, The Evergreen Review, The Good Men Project, Gulf Coast, Hobart, Juked, Kentucky Review, McSweeney’s, Opium, Paper Darts, The Quarterly, Revolver, RHINO, Seventeen, The Southern Poetry Review, Sulphur River Literary Review and Sycamore Review. His writing has also been featured in public art projects and on public radio. A native of Brazil, Indiana, Brian now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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