Two Poems

Justin Runge



Day of Rest


The building, imploded, became
a cloud that moved toward those
gathered there to watch. A shrine


on a website collected memories
of the building’s many residents.
Even the coworker who’d never


called it home cried on collapse.
We admire the sky so much but
nothing lives an entire life there;


the ground gathers every ending.
In a cloud of clay, cloud of skin,
many people thought of illness.


No one knew that the implosion
would be rhythmic. We thought
about our families, about the rain


brittling into ice on the highway.
Going home in the coming days.
Leaving houses behind to droop


and darken like jack-o’-lanterns.
Plans with our fathers. Plumes
following us down slick roads.





Like ruination, weather-
men read the week’s last
bleak line as my wife
packs my lunch at night—
it’s the act of an optimist.
What she calls memories,
I call documents: cards
from my parents emptied
of the checks. Today, two
pairs of socks, and a child
at the bus stop. Too many
dogs to adopt. I am sad
enough to miss the grass.
The cough I fought off
crawls back into my bed,
my throat; there’s room
in both. In my lunch bag,
a note: I ’m going to sleep.
This year, our homeland
isn’t winning, so the news
is full of failed athletes.




JUSTIN RUNGE is the author of Plainsight (New Michigan Press, 2012) and Hum Decode (Greying Ghost Press, 2014). His criticism has been featured by Black Warrior Review and Pleiades, and his poetry has been published in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Northwest, DIAGRAM, and other journals.