Asylum Devotion

by SM Stubbs
Lately I’m desperate for salvation, perhaps
             a rack of engraved tablets that sets me free. 

While cruising north on I-24 past Chattanooga
             & Clarksville out onto the great highways 

of the Midwest, I hunt for desserts worthy
             of worship. I’ve never traveled through either  

Kansas or Nebraska but I hear they know their pies.
             In the meantime, I’m trying to learn how 

to invert myself, intestines draped around me
             like a prayer shawl. That would turn me into 

the star attraction, gawkers’ eyes fixed and
             wide as I pull my guts out one bend at a time. 

Years ago in Vienna I toured a crypt stuffed
             with kings, queens & heirs, an entire dynasty 

stacked against the walls of spare, cramped vaults,
             each casket quietly asking for attention. 

About the author

Originally from south Florida, SM Stubbs co-owned a bar in Brooklyn that closed during the pandemic. He is the recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf; has been nominated for the Pushcart and Best New Poets; is the winner of the 2019 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Poetry Northwest, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, December, and The Rumpus.

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