Winter 1998 • Vol. XX No. 1 Poetry |

Liberty

Outside there was the sizzle of fried bugs, the squeal of wheels in the train yard nearby between his motel and the interstate. Beige walls reminded him of the beige life he left five states away. The gun he bought in Billings was beside the telephone. He called her up. He talked to her machine. He said, "This is the last you'll hear from me," and blew the lamp apart, and behind it a hole the size of a man's fist replaced the blacksmith under the spreading chestnut tree. Having packed the car already, he was gone before the night clerk came to find no trace of anything but the smell of a free man.

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Michael Heffernan teaches poetry at the University of Arkansas. He has won three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His seventh book, The Night Breeze Off the Ocean, will be published later this year.

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Outside there was the sizzle of fried bugs, the squeal of wheels in the train yard nearby between his motel and the interstate. Beige walls reminded him of the beige […]

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