June 1, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

Phil Roeder photo



Joe Amaral




Highway 4 Corridor



In the Sierra Nevada

mountains between

Tahoe and Yosemite


our family cabin

requires thirty feet

of fire clearance

before Memorial Day.


We tarp-load

Calaveras big trees

into trucks

for mulching.


My dad wears

a tee shirt

that says:


Where In The Hell

Is Arnold, CA?


There’s a map

on the back

if you’re wondering.


I have no cell service

here: it’s nice to

turn off and disappear.


My brother arrives,

says there’s been


school shooting

in Texas. 10 dead.


pale     incel

nazi      male

taken   alive.


I keep clearing debris:

pine needles and cones

like bullets and bombs.


An endless onslaught

from deviled trees

who laugh

at my mediocrity

through cyclic seasons,


pitchfork tines clanging

like thoughts and prayers.


In this old

logging town

where hicks

drive Jeeps

draped by

Confederate flags


I’ll remain ignorant

a few more days


raking     raking


until there’s holes

in my gloves


and blood

on my hands.









The spine in team.

Lucky number

exalting the jersey

of the best player.


Historically symbolic

Colin Kaepernick’s afro,

tattoos, enigma & strategic

silence in the maelstrom.


One who shouldn’t

be blackballed

for kneeling against

police cruelty.


There is a difference between

actor & actual.

Activist & athlete

allow intertwinement.


Some never wear it-

but even the glue

needs support, else

useless, it dries out.


No need for anthems.

Seven proudly stands

on familial shoulders.

Past patriots bowing


heads, knuckling fists.

Straight checkmark

stout with purpose &

sharp-pointed angles.


A number worn by kids,

soccer moms & all-stars.

Solid depiction gilding

the deserving among us.






Joe Amaral

Joe Amaral works 48-hour shifts as a paramedic on the central coast of California. He loves spelunking outdoors, camping, traveling, and hosting foreign exchange students with his young family. Joe’s writing has appeared in awesome places like 3Elements Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, On The Premises, New Verse News, Panoply, Poets Reading the News, Postcard Poems and Prose, Rise Up Review and Writers of the Portuguese Diaspora. Joe won the 2014 Ingrid Reti Literary Award.

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