corey mesler

Fifth Grade Best Friend
for Pat Morgan

He was rough, dark & fascinating.
One night we slept in the back
of his parents’ station wagon.
Together, we lived for bb guns
& anything wild the woods
would offer. I was small & timid;
he was tough as a dog, afraid of
nothing, inexplicably attached to me.
He was the first of us to smoke.
Later, I heard, he ended up in
prison. This seems probable.
There was a time, though, when I
would have done anything for him.
He was my constant. Today,
forty years later, I wonder where he
is, especially at night, when the
darkness is fearful, when he might
still be out there, loose as a nickel, just
this side of some honest-to-god trouble.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published five novels, including Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002), We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), and Gardner Remembers (2011), as well as two full length poetry collections and three books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times; two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the country’s oldest (1875) independent bookstores. He can be found at