Photography © Edward S. Gault


Dark Mysteries: Thanksgiving in Iowa

at Vance Bourjaily’s house.
Sometime last century.
The wind. There was no wind.
Only cold. 20 below cold cold.
3 a.m. Tequila as antifreeze.
Stars blurring bright as we walked.
Light snow falling. The constellations
had realigned themselves to accommodate
visitors from down South. Good memories.
40 years plus and well oak-aged.
What remains most is the storm door,
any other time of the year, the front door.
Shut now, Locked. A swarm of black flies
lived there, trapped in a hermetically sealed,
self-contained universe. Spontaneous lives?
Spontaneous consumption? Survivalists?
The dead outnumbered the living
in the open coffin that was the door’s
sealed chamber. Like mushrooms,
never doubting their will to outlive,
the flies bred and died and bred again.
Kept alive with the possibility
the door might open and they would be free.
Spontaneously free to die at last.


Richard Weaver has returned as the writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub. He was one of the founders of the Black Warrior Review and its Poetry Editor for the first three years. His poems will be appearing in the Alabama Anthology (2023). His 200th prose poem was recently accepted.

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine arts photographer living in Brighton, Massachusetts. His work has appeared in Oddball Magazine, Spectrum, Wilderness House Literary Review, Interlude, Currents, and Encore.