Quick Recovery

Jake Fournier

I put on my thigh-highs and

step into the gulch.

The slicked rocks strewn

with exploded carp

and plastic garbage

give way gradually to

the sulfurous waters where

they say the boy drowned.

My arms in

to the shoulder

I turn my face up to a sky

so bright its blue

oozes around the outline of

a crooked pine. Nineteen

and a half and high, he’d

been a toiler in the pit one

summer and this was

unemployed. I know

a little about work so my

sympathy is right where

you’d expect it to lie. If his gut

didn’t split he’d have

floated to the surface but

his face is calm enough that

when they get him drained

if they still want to

they’ll open the casket at

the chapel. I never had beef

with ugliness, can hardly

get drunk, don’t go in

much for Jesus but

I know He said “I’ll make

you fishers of men” and a

couple other things that

in my case proved true. For godsake

if you want to get from

here to happiness you go straight

through. You dig like

I tell my kids all the way to

China. Showering at the station

though I’m trying to picture

it right and seems like you’d

come up somewhere in

the ocean or on some

Pacific island, maybe


Jake Fournier is a poet and scholar who lives in Albuquerque, NM. His poetry has appeared recently in Lana Turner, Annulet, and Partisan Hotel. He researches abolitionist poetry, and his scholarship can be found in ESQ: A Journal of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture.
Originally published:
September 18, 2023


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