Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal

Corey Mesler



Go lightly in the dark,
the acorns underfoot, the
damp cave surfaces,
the place where Scratch left
his hoofprint—all these
can trip you. You
of little faith do not ask me
why the night holds
such snares: the night holds
such snares. If you
must get up from your dreaming
I’m asking that you be
careful, my last love,
my foolish seeker of truth.


Black Fly

A black fly
the size of a hummingbird
rattles around inside
our small bathroom,
painted long ago by my wife,
in Caribbean colors.
It is unwelcome here.
Our daughter rightly assumes
it is a corruption.
I try to catch it in my unlocked hand
but my fingers will
not close around its
noisome hysterical flight.
We all retire into the living room
to relax. The
creature does what
creatures do:
it wails and wails into the open void.


Corey Mesler has published prose and/or poetry in Paumanok Review, Monday Night, The American Drivel Review, Poet Lore, Rattle, Dicey Brown, In Posse Review, Cranky, Reverb, StorySouth, Canopic Jar, Juked, Pindeldyboz, Mitochondria, Mars Hill Review, 13th Warrior Review, Monkeybicycle, Arkansas Review, Stirring, Red River Review, Center, Small Press Review, Jabberwock Review, Orchid, Quick Fiction, Timber Creek Review, Hobart, Poetry Motel, Bullfight, Potomac Review, Big Muddy, Slant, Texas Poetry Review, Drought, Rockhurst Review, Wavelength, Lilliput Review, Pearl, Ducts, Lucid Moon, Sunny Outside, Fish Drum, Into the Teeth of the Wind, Mid-American Poetry Review, Midday Moon, Turnrow, Dust, Cherotic Revolutionary, Cotyledon, Buckle &, Iodine, Snakeskin (England), The Melic Review, Freewheelin’ (England), Pitchfork, Spillway, Thema, Kumquat Meringue, Lonzie’s Fried Chicken, Electric Acorn (Dublin), Gin Bender, Blue Unicorn, Black Dirt, The Spirit that Moves Us, Wind, Red Rock Review, BlazeVox, Concrete Wolf, Memphis Magazine, Rhino, Visions International, others. He has work in the anthologies Full Court: A Literary Anthology of Basketball (Breakaway Books), Pocket Parenting Poetry Guide (Pudding Press), Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure (New World Press) and Smashing Icons (Curious Rooms).

He has a chapbook of poems, Piecework, from the Wing and a Wheel Press. He won the Moonfire Poetry Chapbook Competition 2003 and his chapbook, Chin-Chin in Eden, was published by Still Waters Press. Another chapbook, Dark on Purpose, is just out from Little Poem Press. And another, The Heart is Open, is due from Mayapple Press in 2005.

One of his short stories was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, edited by Shannon Ravenel.

Mesler's novel-in-dialogue, Talk, was published by Livingston Press in 2002, with raves from Lee Smith, Robert Olen Butler, Steve Stern, Debra Spark, Suzanne Kingsbury, Frederick Barthelme and John Grisham. Read about Talk.

His forthcoming novel, We are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, is also from Livingston Press.

He has been a book reviewer (for The Commercial Appeal, BookPage, The Memphis Flyer), fiction editor, university press sales rep, grant committee judge, father and son. With his wife he owns Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores.

© Corey Mesler

Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal ISSN 1554-8449, Copyright © 2004-2012