It’s the middle of the night. I’m just a little loose on beer, and blues,
and battered air, and all the ways this nowhere looks like home:
the fields and boarded houses dead with summer, the filling station rowdy
with the rumor of another place. Cattle pace the distance between road
and gloaming, inexplicably awake. And then, the bathtubs littered in the pasture,
for sale or salvage, or some secret labor stranger than I know. How does it work,
again, the alchemy that shapes them briefly into boats, and then the bones
of great felled beasts, and once more into keening copper bells, before
I even blink? Half a mile out, the city builds back up along the margin.
Country songs cut in and out of static on the radio. Lord, most of what I love
mistakes itself for nothing.

“Transubstantiation” from The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics And Feebleminded by Molly McCully Brown. Copyright © 2017 by Molly McCully Brown. Published by Persea Books. Used with permission of the poet.

This poem was originally read in the Poetry Unbound episode “Molly McCully Brown — Transubstantiation