Folk Tale

Justin Runge

The fog was a cloud.
Appeared on campus
like a political figure.
Like a holy holiday.
Dined on marginalia
in the faculty offices.
The student newspaper
sent its best reporter
to the fog, which gave
an evasive interview.
The fog then moved
on to the wetlands,
snagging on bracken
like hem. Made faces
at long-haul truckers.
Kissed elms. Stopped
to lay on the haunch
of a horse it had only
admired from the sky.
When the horse ran
spooked through it,
the fog was stricken
dumb. Moved along.
The power plants let
imitations of the fog
loose like lanterns,
which cannot make
farmhouses beautiful,
as the fog often does.
A man in a grey suit
talked about the fog,
as did the motorists
and their passengers.
Of how heavy it was
and if it would soon
pass by. The fog felt
like a eulogy. Paused
like the elderly. Left
as our children leave
their schools empty.

from Issue 28.2

JUSTIN RUNGE is the author of Plainsight (New Michigan Press, 2012) and Hum Decode (Greying Ghost Press, 2014). His criticism has been featured by Black Warrior Review and Pleiades, and his poetry has been published in Cincinnati Review, Poetry Northwest, DIAGRAM, and other journals.