Anthony Butts

< Back to Issue Seven


Heart of Gold

Built like a fullback
he patrols the outdoor
mental rehab facility

like a football is in-hand,
a tree trunk of a man
uprooted by the tug-

of-war he came home
to—seemingly coming
to in every conversation

because of the brain injury
he survived—striding
as he strives to obey

the Golden Rule, like
a Cartier egg in place
of his heart, pulling

at him wherever
he goes, knowing
that his wife may be

the battle he never wins,
as the rope burns, always
ending with his “Amen.”

The Legend of Lisa, the Meek

With techno ringing in my ear-
phones, I recall Lisa turning her back
on the meek cliff of her body,

hunched forward in therapy groups,
in order to dance for her man
to the hip-hop he played on his phone—

as their radio-active hearts quickly came
to be powered by each other. Meekly,
she had approached me, from an asymptote

off in the sunny distance of the dusty
country road leading through
the facility—in a mathematics

of desire for the broad yellow moths
of Louisiana to flutter in a poem
just like this one. The day she entered

therapy, Lisa turned like a wind-stricken
leaf in the breeze of our group’s raucous
chit-chat, about this and that, having

asked me to quiet the seas—in emulation
of Jesus—as she would come to believe
that stress was a storm which was passing.

Anthony Butts’ second of three published collections of verse, Little Low Heaven (New Issues 2003), garnered the Poetry Society of America’s 2004 William Carlos Williams Award for best book. A graduate of the creative writing doctoral program at the University of Missouri, he later taught at the University of Dayton and Carnegie Mellon University. Butts is a native Michigander, currently living in Louisiana.

Next (Karen Abeyta) >
< Previous (Nadine Ellsworth-Moran)

Photo Credit: “Golden Heart” on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.