about the author

Brad Trumpfheller is an undergraduate student at Emerson College, where he studies literature & music. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Word Riot, Assaracus, and elsewhere. He works with the marketing team of the Adroit Journal, and is currently interning with Winter Tangerine’s editorial staff. He wants to know your favorite jazz musician.

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immigration as silent theatre 

Brad Trumpfheller

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Ohio, 1916

lights up—

act one. a mile of rivers outline the language of this wintered country
where grandfather’s hands learned to paintbrush lakewater,
to spell beauty in his own mouth.

act two. ensemble enters stage right & twists
his arms until they curl into wings, until his skin sprouts feathers
like the lake’s cattails, a beak like a new name.

act three. the stage stops being a stage, & three men
take him in a boat & force him to unlearn the lake’s beauty headfirst.
to become a pelican: swallowing water without a word—

black out.

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