Summer Brimstone
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

Revivals were held
at the fairgrounds in the ’60s;
7 nights in 80 degree summer
fired up long before sunset

officiated by some hotshot
from somewhere else brought in
to shake the roof because bland
falls short; is spit out
quicker than stale saltines

the hotshots came
to save us from ourselves
mostly filling hardwood
bleachers reserved
for horse race, demo derby
and kiddie pageant; we faithful
fanning Sunday Best dry

behind the stage salvation
a freight train jiggled the horizon;
I counted the mismatched boxcars
before a bored boy began scooting nearer

and caught at this kind of thing
at revival calls down worse brimstone
than any preacher guesses;
I looked away and wished for
another train to roll by.

Wanda Morrow Clevenger lives in Hettick, IL. Over 160 pieces of her work appear in very numerous print and electronic publications. Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us, a collection of memoir, poetry and flash fiction, released on October 30, 2011. Wanda is the Creative Writing Editor of The River journal and is currently compiling her first book of poetry. To view a sampling of published and new work, visit: