Artwork © Eric N. Peterson

After the 2020 Presidential Debates

Here’s to the silence that stretches along the lake,
lets you hear a snowflake kiss its silver surface;
to what happens when you lift the needle
from the vinyl—that scratchless patch where
sound naps, where, as Miles told Traine,
you take the horn out of your mouth.

Salute what hides in the gap between your lips,
that quiet quotient of embrace, where we desire
only the best for each other, and for our country;
where orange becomes, once more, the hue
of pumpkin and autumn leaf, the space where
compassion, camouflaged, plots its escape

from slogans like Make America Great Again,
where those words plummet, headlong and forever,
into the murky depths of vitriol and venom, never
to be heard from again. Rise up, in this moment
of grace, dance a polonaise of decency, a ballet
of blessing. Behold the rest between notes, the
moment before the coda, the place of peace,
the untrammeled promise of calm.

Charlie Brice is the winner of the 2020 Field Guide Magazine Poetry Contest and is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), An Accident of Blood (2019), and The Broad Grin of Eternity (forthcoming), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Chiron Review, Impspired Magazine (UK), Golden Streetcar, I-70 Review, The Sunlight Press, Anti-Heroin Chic, and elsewhere.

Eric N. Peterson is from Atlanta, Ga. He’s been drawing cartoons all his life. He leans towards the absurd, imaginative, and the surreal, as that’s where all the flavor is.