Feels Like Rain



Dead black cat on the porch,

  tongue out.


I touched it!


No regrets. I’ve told myself

for as long as I can forget.

I rode a Big Wheel


through snow, couldn’t go back


as far as planned. Manx cat, do you want a tail?


Left too many blades under pillows. Band-Aids

never big enough. My father aches


in legs he doesn’t have. That cat

was more his than mine.

                                               He’s like both of ours

only let’s keep him at my house.


With a lit cigarette, I plugged an anthill.

The First Time I See My Father’s Blood Cleaned



Fried chicken and cigarettes

in my backpack,


I stand at the door

unable to cross


the threshold. As if

that hospital floor


is ice too thin to bear

any weight. I hear


your younger self caught beneath,

knocking your fists


against the brittle cold,

not strong enough to break


through, your gray-black skin

a city at night. Still,


I’m at the door

with the greasy chicken


and smokes you asked for,

watching you bleed.


Blood rushing

through tubes so fast


it seems not to move. Artificial

kidney does work


yours won’t. You don’t see

me. You shiver between death


and sleep. I place my bag down,

try to give you my time,


the thing you wouldn’t ask for,

and didn’t need, what


I’d been longing to give.

Douglas Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and an MFA from Butler University where he was the Managing Editor of Booth a Journal. He is currently a Middleton and Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He was a recipient of the Chris McCarthy Scholarship for the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and has been the Poetry Editor for Gold Line Press as well as was one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, Many Mountains Moving and elsewhere. His first full-length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press in the spring of 2017.