Christopher Locke

King Carter

Robert “King” Carter was a wealthy slave owner in Virginia.
He served as state Governor from 1726-1727.
Many streets, businesses, and hotels in the “Northern Neck” of Virginia still proudly display his name.

Flawless property under peach
melba sun, bodies oiled in the perfume
of money as armloads of debutante
hair spill rosy across daybeds. Flower
gardens exuberant as a carnival
of drunks kissing sloppy into traffic.
Crystalline pool cutting its own horizon.
Grass shorn into stiff obedience until
our weight is finally bearable. All
leading to the front desk and its golden
bell, clapboards and brass claiming
Southern charm still lives amongst
the long rows of misery planted years
before: 3,000 men, women and children
branded property, and the owner who
proclaimed himself their king, still
celebrated, the prized suite bearing
his name, where couples pay for
the privilege to drink Champagne
in a copper bathtub, rise up and into
cotton sheets, bang the headboard
against the wall like a gavel at auction

Christopher Locke’s flash has appeared in such magazines as SmokeLong Quarterly, Jellyfish Review, Barrelhouse, Flash Fiction Magazine, New Flash Fiction Review, JMWW, (mac)ro(mic), Maudlin House, Flash Boulevard, and elsewhere. He won the Black River Chapbook Award for his collection of speculative short stories 25 Trumbulls Road. His new book of poems, Music for Ghosts, (NYQ Books) and a memoir-in-essays, Without Saints, (Black Lawrence Press) were both released in 2022. Chris lives in the Adirondacks where he teaches English at North Country Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh.