Destry Ledford, from Yamacraw, NC, purloined confidence in God’s goodwill. Despite two bulwarks of black sideburn that warned his eyes to stay put and a perpetual gin-birthed scrunching, those cue balls, royal blue and long-lashed, looked like they could shift all the way around his head. Loved a sale. Mounted the challenge with an urgent rapping— doorbells never commanding respect. Roughshod over the stats— major cause of storm-related deaths; 62 fatalities per year; 10% struck dead; 90% suffer, disabled—galloping to the cliff of panic: results in a cardiac arrest and brain damage, irreversible, that last bit so often coaxing the checkbook out that he rarely got to tell of decreased libido or impotence. All the rooftops along Hwy 421 were infested with a minimum of four wee monuments to what Ledford had none of. He once stared down a 300-lb Czech boxer at the Clover, once pulled a copperhead off his boot and on the spot crushed its skull, once clubbed a rabid fox was after his daughter, and practiced a strange penance, maybe for taking folks’ money for a useless device that poked from their rooftops like sad and tiny Kremlins. In a thunderstorm he’d stand in the middle of a field, lit Camel dangling from lips, arms out as if to a multitude, and beg the sky to strike.

CLAUDE LIMOGES has work appearing in Lyric Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Oklahoma Review, The Southern Anthology, Mainstreet Rag, and Encore Magazine. Author of the novel The Seasoning of Rebecca, Limoges received an Outstanding Thesis Award from The MFA in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, First Place in the fiction writing contest of Encore Magazine, and the Thomas H. McDill Award from the NC Poetry Society.