Christopher Munde

Recovery Myth / Ghost Children of Salk Lake City & San Antonio

These prints from palms so soft their pulses might put every dog
In the pound to sleep.  Your uphill creep illusory, night blinded
By headlights through caffeine refracted.  Outside the legend,
Gravity hills grind to valleys.  But Al-Anon’s alive with the occult
Vision of progress, drive and pull, until the very notion of better
Takes the addiction’s place.  If luck is in the rabbit’s foot, then
Progress is the superstitious fervor that hacked it off.  Small paws
Coax you off the tracks, a lightness so exhilarating you choose
To circle the block, and crank the children into overtime.  So soft
The prints, they urge you past the rumble strip into a field.  You lure,
Then drag the ghosts there by their fingers:  Decline that seems like climb.
Next the shovel cast aside, the corpse unearthed, haunting averted,
But then the realization:  Not any hill, but every: Every field, every corpse.

Christopher Munde

Enabler Myth

The family on the final brutal legs
Of an intervention, the charred lot entire

A pyre of effigies gesturing embers,
Postponing, with a phosphorescent worry,

Your station in their sky.  So wild
Their concern it would be nothing

For you and I to slip away, to strike
The soot from off our clothes,

Disable the alarms and lace
The guard dog’s food with some rich

Vein of quiet:  Rohypnol’s hot Lethean
Mug of chamomile, the like of which

Had run its rag through Melanippus’ skull,
As Tydeus—too human by an inch

To merit godfood—probed for solace
In what remained of the brain.  Meager,

Then, any decorum in ambrosia-dribbling,
In the back-burn about which we’re gathered,

And in the gods’ kindness laid like furniture
Vast and soft enough for pets to die beneath,

Though squat enough to vault when we abscond
To spill the righteous bottles we were promised,

You and I.  We set all faucets running to distract
The holy, as we hunker down to cool beneath

Hephaestic clouds, where out of their sights I,
As consolation, offer up my broken skull.

Author's Commentary: After losing a friend to addiction eight years ago, I began to notice the condition’s incredible omnipresence, in all of its stages and forms, and with all of its paraphernalia:  Pipe fragments in parking lots, other acquaintances in and out of recovery, endless strings of drug busts in the local news.  Like cryptids and other denizens of lore, these tangible pieces seemed to outline the perimeter of something colossal and otherwise invisible.

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Christopher Munde’s poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Blackbird, Bombay Gin, The Literary Review, Massachusetts Review, Third Coast, West Branch Wired, and elsewhere.  He was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize while completing his MFA at the University of Houston.  Presently, he teaches at Jamestown Community College in western NY.