Purchase Issue 7

Purchase Issue 7


Brad Trumpfheller

Time’s not an arrow, more the place an arrow touches us

Probably everywhere, there are rooms
full of people who do not love

each other yet. I arch
my back like the steeple

we midwifed 
from your breastbone. Gold thread

on a white silk hoop; an egg
split down nothing like its middle.

Small wonder: we have an entire word
for the direction

opposite this grandfather clock’s
hoax motion. Here’s where I could say

something about my children,
the words they will learn

despite their new, sunless worlds
& technologies—

but I won’t have children.
& if I do, what would they call me?

My first words were nonsense
shawled in sound

close enough to mother
for my mother

to know I saw her there.
Your first words are the kind of thing

you would have told me, small
effigy, while we waited

for the bus together,
or sat smoking on your back porch

in between my congratulating
the leaves on their colors

for the third time
this year. I’m losing track

of myself. I wanted
to begin this poem

with what I thought of first
when we stopped speaking:

a bride spinning
backwards; white road

flares being lit; woman
of me bowed

like a string into an antique light.


Read Brad Trumpfheller’s Time’s not an arrow, more the place an arrow touches us in the print edition of The Arkansas International 7.



Brad Trumpfheller is the author of the chapbook Reconstructions (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020). Their work has appeared in POETRY, the Nation, Washington Square Review, TYPO, and elsewhere. They are from the South, and currently live outside of Boston.