Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 04/15/22

Death & Co.

of course, it’s only a matter of time

so much of the city is already crowded
by ghosts and shadows that move
from one room to the next, even
my father’s house is occupied by
spirits who don’t want us in her home

it’s like that everywhere: in the
hotel downtown, the one famous for
those murders, the man who carried
body parts out of his room in suitcases

or the bar on the west side that is no
longer in operation, where shadow
you and shadow me sit and collect
dust as we wait for the bartender
to refill our glasses with bourbon

or the walls of the Alamo downtown
crawling with the screams of those
men who died in hellfire and dirt,
some say for freedom, others say
to skip taxes or rip the land away from
those who had lived there first, but there’s
always someone who came first, and
their ghosts are there too, watching the hellfire
consume us all in the south Texas heat

I know there will come a day
when there won’t be any reason
for me to return, some final funeral,
and I’ll bring my last bag out
to the sidewalk and wait for a car as
ghosts drift by in the cobalt blue skies

but maybe the pain of knowing
an empty city is waiting for me
down south won’t overcome my
curiosity to return, walk those rooms,
those bars, those landmarks to listen
to the whispers of Death & Co. one
more time before I too cross the river
at night to join them, in just a matter
of time

©2022 James H Duncan All rights reserved.

James H Duncan

James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and the author of We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, Feral Kingdom, and Vacancy, among other books of poetry and fiction. He currently resides in upstate New York where he works on novels and reviews indie bookshops at his blog, The Bookshop Hunter. For more, visit

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