Daniel Lassell

Tasting Moonshine

Along a fence line with my cousin, I point into the fields 

and say something about gravel that used to run 

through the property, a county road for the region. 


He hands me a jar. Says he made it himself. 

So, I take a swig and picture the rust of a barn’s roof, 

the burn of gasoline. “Apple flavor,” he says. 


He takes back the jar and I choke out, “Good.” 

In my throat lingers a pillar of heated glassware, my tongue 

a sprig of cinnamon or acid talons, another gesturing animal. 


I wonder if Kentucky willingly gave up its hills.

If heaven could be something we’ve swindled of the land

and if apple flavor is the poorest choice for anything heavenly. 


Is numbness the same as comfort? I feel anxious in crowds. 

There’s a crowd in me that wants out, wants goddamn air. 

Then, I remember: I am along a fence line with my cousin, 


talking about the past, as if the past is a godly thing. 

It’s not. And maybe what I hold in my empty palms is sacred. 

But who am I to speak, with the earth in my belly?


A Little Less

Say hello to the scab 

on my neck from shaving. 


I always get myself 

at the Adam’s apple, 


as if the first man 

has come up to haunt me, 


kicking out a little blood, 

a little macho hunter, 


with his entrance. 

I dab the mess 


to erase what I can, 

and rake away 


the tiny spears

that pepper & puncture 



I am a little less, 


the lone window 

of a torn-down house,


a place from which 

I watch the cars, 


their bumpers moving 

battered & in shadow.


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Author Bio

Daniel Lassell lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. His recent poetry appears or is forthcoming in Permafrost, Post Road, Barely South Review, Frontier Poetry, and Yemassee.