Picaroon Poetry - Issue #19 - November 2019

picaroonpoetry

Well here we are, rogues and rebels, readers and writers - our last issue of Picaroon until the middle of 2021. I want to thank everyone who appears in this issue - poems about busking and goats, fruitcake and pawn shops, and Christmas and ghosts and so much more - and everyone who has ever sent something our way, been published in other issues, or read what our writers have shared with you.

1


2


Issue #19

November 2019

Edited by Kate Garrett

All poems copyright © 2019 individual authors

Selection/issue copyright © 2019 Kate Garrett / Picaroon Poetry

Cover image is detail from an image of Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, UK by Shane

Rounce via Unsplash, used under the public domain license.

3


4


This Month’s Rogue Poems ● November 2019

november // Nick Carding 7

Tales // Rickey Rivers Jr. 8

World’s Fair, 1939 // Victor Altshul 9

He Makes Music // Simon Williams 10

Frozen in Time // Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon 11

Rummies // Todd Mercer 12

Weather, Late Autumn Early Winter // Michael H. Brownstein 13

Trappings // Sue Kindon 14

Late Night Visit with My Father // Maureen Daniels 15

Naming // Sheila Ronsen 16

Exhale // Charles G Lauder, Jr 17

Soul Notation on a Dark Night // Laura Wainwright 18

Left Behind // Juliette Sebock 19

Saturn Returns // Cynthia Anderson 20

death song with goats // Kyla Houbolt 21

from dog // Grant Tarbard 23

Cosmic Blues // Howie Good 24

Amarillo // Daniel Fraser 25

Thelma // Hannah Wang 26

Untitled // Gabriella Garofalo 28

5


Woolf’s Stone // Elisabeth Horan 29

An escape to anywhere // Patrick T. Reardon 30

Semi-automatics in a series of haiku (murder most fowl) // Jordan Hamel 32

Robins: a Wikipedia Entry // Beth Brooke 33

Haunted // Craig Dobson 34

Listen, universe echoes // Svetlana Avakumović 35

The Narrative Eye // Simon Williams 36

user manual page 19: cactus // Cecile Bol 37

The Day I Tried to Sell My Soul to Satan // Clive Donovan 38

Drawing the grotesque // David J. Thompson 39

Pawn Shop // Robin Ray 40

that year // Nick Carding 41

Dispatch from the Monsoon // Beth Bayley 42

Saving Christmas // Betsy Martin 43

6


Nick Carding

november

sadness of rain

pulping

crisped leaves

whine of wind

rubbing

the cornerstone

buzz and snap

of wood

in the hearth

legs bare

stretched

caressing

your heart

pumping

in mine

ways

in which

we love

7


Rickey Rivers, Jr

Tales

The king is nearly dead. The queen has run off with the jester. On his death bed

the king dreams of prosperity. The prince is off fighting dragons. The old witch

conjures curses to control the castle. Her cauldron contains pieces, together they

crumble into cookies. These are for the giants, those who roam the land. The

cookies control their height. Digestion causes shrinkage, which allows for fairy

courtship. Their dust helps grow the crops. The crops feed the monsters. The

monsters are not monsters, though they move the same. When games are played

in playgrounds children give them names.

8


Victor Altshul

World’s Fair, 1939

There were worlds all over the fairgrounds,

though I knew nothing

of the world or of worlds or fairs.

The worlds were giant globes.

Buses went back and forth

among all the worlds.

I think there must have been

red buses,

and blue buses,

and green buses.

I must have gotten on many buses,

but not on all the buses.

I had never seen so many buses.

One day I would be a bus driver,

with a blue uniform and peaked hat.

How was I to know there were

so many buses?

So many worlds?

9


Simon Williams

He Makes Music

The melodeon player

by the tree

in the square

plays a shanty,

looks like Joseph

with mirror glasses.

He shouts songs;

you can’t tell

if its persona –

a stage play

to get coins

in his hat –

or a condition

where he must

act the pirate.

By the time

he packs up,

it doesn’t matter.

10


Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

Frozen in Time

She yanked at the iced-up car door.

At first, it stuck. When it broke free

it opened suddenly, caught her unawares

and bruised her thigh, What the bloody fuck.

She shivered, sighed in the sharp frost of winter,

her first one without him. He’d always scraped

her windows clean. She grabbed a CD, ‘Revolver’,

remixed, her new de-icing tool, Congratulations,

girl. Like your lateral thinking. It marked her survival.

Her thought twists: haunted, she imagines his up-curled lip,

mocking face, a look she’d seen him flaunt most days, for years.

So unlike his hood-eyed smoulder as they kissed deep

late at night loved understood why they’d stayed together –

weathered bitter rows, for this brief bliss. Both, now gone forever.

11


Todd Mercer

Rummies

“Better you than me” reads the post-it note

affixed to the holiday fruitcake we’ve dropped

off on each other’s doorsteps, lo these many years.

It may be edible. At least as edible as it ever was.

We can’t know, as I’m not checking

and my friend won’t surrender

this baked good cold war. Next Christmas

she’ll be on guard. She’ll try not to

take possession, when I deliver said fruitcake

inside an innocuous trojan horse sculpture.

Our friendly tradition perseveres, the pastry

was preserved since Dubya’s Administration.

Baked then, the cake, and not the friends.

Been circulating since wrapper unopened.

I store it in the Present’s Closet,

my burden ‘til this time next winter.

Working out precisely how

I will unload this loaf.

12


Michael H. Brownstein

Weather, Late Autumn Early Winter

Mudflats eek black varnish

across strings of grass

sunlit and prismed, dark

vapor and shadow. Crayfish

dig into earth, minnows

slide from puddle

to puddle. Nearby, fishing

birds statue still. A wind

comes in through the boneyard,

shell and snail, rock and sand.

Nothing wishes to move

so nothing moves. You thought this

a poem about weather.

It's not. It's about the ecology

of love, how a favorite place

darkens inside out, how a mother

in law's plants poison dogs,

how the items we cherish

break, how one day we wake,

look at one another and find

ourselves gasping for love,

our hands bound into tight fists,

our eyes watering, our nose,

our mouth, the shape of the way

we walk, different somehow

and we don't know it,

yet the life we held

all of those many years

mortar between good brick,

drywall that does not mold,

paint that does not peel,

the glass in the upstairs window

that does not clatter in the wind.

The sun rises. Yellow light

floats over the bed. The dogs

bark, a cat meows, and somewhere,

in the distant, a chorus of song.

13


Sue Kindon

Trappings

We have taken her clothes

so she goes naked.

We have boxed up her books

so she has nothing to think.

We have bagged her Japanese prints

and the painting of Llanthony Abbey

done by someone she once knew:

her nicotine walls draw blank.

We have lifted her weight

in paperclips, scissors, spectacle cases

so she can breathe.

Bronnley boxes, empty of soap,

broken wristwatches, tissue-wrapped,

and keys. Keys to passages

long-gone: the forgotten

of the black and white photo.

We have offloaded her piano,

to make space.

14


Maureen Daniels

Late Night Visit with My Father

After fighting with my husband,

I ran out of the apartment

crying hard. Snow gathered

on my hat and shoulders

as I dashed through yellow

cab traffic and hurried

toward my father’s

nursing home. I signed

my name at security,

slunk around the bend of

the empty nurses’ station and

into the dark two-bed room.

He was lying on his side,

drug heavy, breathing slow

the view of the Hudson

shuttered closed. I lowered

the guard rail, climbed

into his bed and spilled

my face into the shallow

ridge of his spine, my arm

wrapped around the taped

diaper across his hips.

And even though he had not

known my name for years,

I held on tightly to the last

months of my father’s life.

15


Sheila Ronsen

Naming

I feel my tongue curdle and deform

when I’m called upon to say my name:

“Ronsen.” “Johnson ?” they ask. “Bronson?” “No.

Ronsen, with an ‘e’ not an ‘o’ like the lighter,”

I respond. My name held hooked to the tongue,

I can’t pull it out without ripping out pieces

of flesh. The remains of a bloodline betrayed,

leave my mouth with the sour taste of shame.

My father never spoke about the war.

He took speech lessons to eradicate his Yiddish

accent. With surgical precision, a tiny incision,

he took a single consonant ‘n’ and inserted it

after the ‘o’ of ‘Rosen’: safety stitched up.

The one name he feared most was Jew.

16


Charles G Lauder, Jr

Exhale

In my dream your father dies

and I suddenly feel the gap,

his eyes open but empty,

and a sheet is pulled over

as if we shouldn’t look upon the dead.

Don’t look for him here,

because he’s not.

All we have is

a volume of space

that should be taken up by his bulk,

a cocoon of air manifesting someday

a standing lamp, a bureau,

a chair against the wall.

All forces, all life, all sides

close around this gap,

crush the bubble,

and you swallow to preserve it.

*‘Exhale’ appears in Charles’s new collection The Aesthetics of Breath (V. Press,

October 2019).

17


Laura Wainwright

Soul Notation on a Dark Night

Before starting this medicine

Citalopram (Celexa, Cipramil) gasp of a yawn with abdominal flutter

first read this information

Fluoxetine (Fontex, Sarafem) anxiety apostacy apathy coda

Do not discontinue suddenly

Sertraline (Lustral, Zoloft) sleeplessness syncope nausea tremor

Talk to your doctor if

you take

Diazepam (Valium, Amiprol) alcohol CBT samadhi poetry yoga

too much

18


Juliette Sebock

Left Behind

I drink coffee for amnesia,

tensing up at thoughts of milk

laced with honey.

I left a pile behind,

mugs that hadn't yet been stained

by caffeine rings,

but made sure to pack

an extra shot glass

because I knew right away

I'd need a double.

Still, I drip rum in my coffee cup,

fast-food Coke with the good ice,

a cure-all for thoughts of pain.

Memories feel less like abandonment

when you take away the sting.

19


Cynthia Anderson

Saturn Returns

The sky’s taskmaster arrives before dawn

blinding my window like an oncoming train.

I hide my head, but when I look back,

he’s still there—bigger, brighter, higher.

What does the sun of the night want?

All week I watch him ride the window.

Saturn doesn’t understand no. At twilight,

dressed in army camouflage, he rings

the doorbell, selling magazine subscriptions.

He wants to open a martial arts studio,

claims, I don’t need luck. It’s true—

lord of death, time, and karma,

he already has what he needs.

It’s New Year’s Eve. Does the world

reflect our thoughts, or is it trickier

than that? No matter. Saturn’s gone—

I’m unsettled and relieved.

*’Saturn Returns’ appears in Cynthia’s new book Route (Cholla Needles Press,

August 2019)

20


Kyla Houbolt

death song with goats

levitate.

it might be worth

learning to do this.

once I die,

the goats will eat

anything leftover

including

an owners manual

if I had one

I want to make

of my death

something so beautiful

it brings all the goats

to the graveyard

so beautiful it lifts

up out of the goats' reach

so nothing is left

behind but a crowd

of frustrated hungry

goats

they will sing out

their outrage

they will be so angry

these graveyard goats

their singing will somehow

ascend into magical harmony

and the sound of it will become

so damn glorious the goats

themselves will begin to levitate

imagine, clouds of flying goats

singing an angel chorus

21


zooming along the airways

changing the weather patterns

because of harmonic resonance

and altered albedo

and so if all goes

according to plan

my beautiful death

can heal climate change

by means of goats

and their levitation

which is because of my own

levitation by means

of the beautiful death

I conjured in the absence

of any owners manual

at all

22


Grant Tarbard

from dog

12.

Dog had a theory of colour that he enjoyed

shouting out of motor cars, a drawn idea

to stuff a balmy head into. He says “the solidarity

of red is calming, if you don’t look outside the iris.

The pursuit of blue has one rooting around

for pocket change, milking unfinished speeches

for pigments; thus a chalk drawing is an act of rebellion.

There is nothing insignificant in the suggestion of colour.”

13.

Dog, once, lost the power of speech. He mimed that

the intellectual convenience was well worth his voice.

Enlightened hunches transfigured his earthen face

into a boy holding a question mark like a prized balloon.

His throat was a swarm of pins, unforgiving like wasps.

Dog winced: “if I could get a foot higher I could thrust

for treason.” This was a typical Sunday afternoon with dog,

after tea he’d fall asleep with eyes open, staring out the window.

When he awoke he’d imagine how many bicycles he’d seen.

15.

Dog was a dizzy vacuum wearing mongrel fur—

a fainting goat feigning a pantomime death every afternoon.

He’s stitched together with a tincture of vertigo

and laudanum. His nimble feet resuscitate dead suns

abubble with frolic, questioning a bolero on your best linen.

The mechanics of his nimble feet were moths in the disguise

of butterflies. He’s rather proud of his pink mouth,

with its malaise of crowded pearly teeth. When he smiled

you’d run the risk of being absorbed by chest height ghosts

in de rigueur white sheets. Flossing was a small vanity.

23


Howie Good

Cosmic Blues

I’m not really into cosmic things, but I don’t have a choice. Salvador Dali is forever.

I used to see seagulls everywhere. Then a mirror unrolled from the sky, and the

seagulls were just skeletons. None of it made a lot of sense. Someone said to me,

“It’s simple. A black hole is where time and space disappear.” Simple?! Solid

objects are melting into air at an alarming pace. It’s not an unknown future. It’s

almost here. I think it must be like a wasp nest in a barrack in a German

concentration camp or 634 minutes inside a volcano.

24


Daniel Fraser

Amarillo

Rented room with a blue cactus mural

and the solemn folds of a Texas flag

shower curtain lolling through saloon doors,

reminding us that some things fit too well.

Sweet evenings on bourbon without ID,

losing ourselves to open plains and highway talk,

the asphalt diction of our adopted tongue,

while bats chew at papery moths

and guano thuds like moon glue in the dust.

A man named Chris we met on the road,

had a three-drink misunderstanding and

took straight to brawling, one fist hollowed out

another’s cheek: cracked plywood, loose teeth

and muffled cheers, sometimes it

feels good to see a man fall down. Shattered

long-necks, muscles assembled round a white

Dodge, open at the back, brows pressed with

menace, motor oil clagging up the night,

the word posse bandied about like time

meant nothing. A few half-hearted bullets

scurried through the pasteboard, embedding

like hot fossils beneath the banded rock.

In the morning we crawled from beneath

the bed, insects rising from troubled dreams,

and headed east, each one $70 lighter for failing

to eat the biggest steak in the world.

25


Hannah Wang

Thelma

There are two things I love more than everything else in this world:

giant turtles,

and you, babygirl.

Sitting behind the wheel on the edge of forever,

I can’t take my eyes off the canyon

between your collarbone and

your curls,

spines erupting from the pulp

of your inverted cactus body –

darling, you have never

glittered more resistant.

Iridescent. Darling, you are

irresistible.

If you are my everything and my world,

I want to see turtles

all

the way

down.

I will gouge out the eyes

of everyone who has undressed you

and looked you

wrong

My valley burn,

my desert rose,

let me kiss the sepia off your petals.

My miracle, how fresh you still look

beneath the rays of the carcinogenic sun.

For you, I would inhale

all these rusted ashtray men

26


into our forsaken sky.

and breathe them back as clouds

Ruby raindrops shall bead

the threadbare edges of your wounds.

My index and middle fingers –

the sound of thunder,

release.

Thelma, the lights are whooping

for our blood for our blood

for our blood.

We were born jailbreaking.

We have already seen the inside of a cell,

and it looks like

Mount Rushmore,

a convenience store with empty shelves.

We scream flash floods

no stern pillar can dam –

so put your smoking gun lips on mine.

Tell me to keep going.

Eat my heart as the roaring wind

flays us, as we

fly.

When they find us

at the bottom,

we will have fused into thunderbird steel.

No one but this wreckage can ever touch our flesh again.

27


Gabriella Garofalo

Untitled

Cause he was born first, cobalt,

Then you, then fear,

No hunter no hustle you’ll mourn,

Soul –

So what? He gets away with it?

He nicks that many moons and gets off scot-free?

Yes, look at him, standing at the corner

Bragging about same old evenings,

Same old tales of blood girls and whiskey –

He, the sky.

Careful, luvvy, if the wind looms around

Ready to sweep away wisdom and sins,

Those shadows on the sill

Only fields can eye –

Blossoms or wolves, don’t ask,

It’s a matter of sight

When only fields get eyes.

28


Elisabeth Horan

Woolf’s Stone

I want to start again

With the same stone

Weighing me down

Holds my legs together

Deep underground

Under ocean arms, blue lady

Kills me. Blue lady loves me

Takes my air and drowns me

Her friend brown angel

Is the reek of death all around

Me. The black and hag the fang eel

The tentacles up my nose. Wanting---

Standard living. Standard dying.

In the ocean. With a rock weight I tied

My legs together, must not open

Ever again. For anything. Anyone/

Expect that --- to remove organs

As they fail one by one. Innocent

Enough, until it becomes

The entire line up of

Liver kidney stomach intestine.

It won't be a problem

Remember. I have already

Drowned under the thick

Crude stench of water.

All that's left is the smell of

An ancient Orgasm -

A wet grave - a woman’s shirt

Unbuttoned.

29


Patrick T. Reardon

An escape to anywhere

(1)

The armless hand writes on the wall my name. Am I

the sin? Or the prophesy? Or the sacrifice? I am

marched to the Temple where the King demands

I solve his problem.

I whisper:

“The pulsing el runs in the dark past the blind backs

of houses. The Lake is a Buddha to the east, as silent

and fat and as empty of ambition. In the backyard on Leamington, David and I,

still innocent of school, steal

a shovel and begin digging our escape to China. We

were spanked twice for that antic.

“Sixty years later, David creeped out his back door to

his tiny backyard and found flight by digging a sudden

tiny tunnel through his sorrow-soaked brain.”

The King brought in his slit-eyed soothsayers to parse

my dream of his dream of the hand of God on his wall

of pain, and they divined that it was an undigested

piece of beef. Don’t look behind the bed curtain. I

left my name held hostage as I skedaddled to some

other cosmic Chicago where David is alive and we

don’t have to dig an escape to anywhere.

Did you know God writes left-handed?

(2)

Remember that Greek myth of the

mother who, each darkness, would

descend with regal grace the stone

stairs to the dungeon to dine, her

teeth into the flesh, on the entrails

of her toddler son who, each light,

would heal to be ready again a

30


maternal meal?

At Troy, he fought. In Sicily.

On the Plains of Abraham. In the Pass.

On the beach. In the Wilderness.

At intervals, he would slip from the field

to the dungeon

to serve again as repast.

(3)

I told the King to bury me under the altar.

I am in no rush. Still, it is good to know the terminal point. My sovereign made no

promises and looked into my eyes,

searching for what he didn’t know. I knew he was looking

for the boy who has been a hostage inside me.

Look, that boy is in a choir loft singing the Credo

in a voice that fills his head from the vestibule to the altar.

He is blameless and pained in his cassock and surplice.

He pours his weights into the voice that escapes him

as he would escape himself, riding up and out,

past the painted ceiling, to the wide sky, empty of chains,

linked to the crab-apple tree in the weedy backyard.

(4)

I don’t want to hear it.

I am solid as the rock that is the mountain.

I bottle my pain to an ugly vintage.

My son drinks the bile through the barrel of his gun.

31


Jordan Hamel

Semi-automatics in a series of haiku (murder most

fowl)

Guns were created

to protect families from

wild animals.

Semi-automatics

fire 90 rounds per minute,

seems quite excessive.

Last night a chicken

flew into my bedroom, I

shot it 90 times.

Chickens are small.

Don’t need to shoot them 90

times a minute

or 90 chickens

in a single minute.

Fuck your convenience.

32


Beth Brooke

Robins: a Wikipedia Entry

The robin is seen as a martial bird,

disputatious.

It has a reputation for belligerence,

being able to spark an argument

in an empty tree.

Its plainsong ticking

asserts a right of occupancy,

communicating a simple message:

Off. Off. Off. Off.

Its more melodic songs are

variations on a single theme,

which may be summarised

as invitations to have a go -

if you think you're hard enough.

Yet when evening comes

these birds are slow to roost.

In the dark they are small,

their dreams uneasy,

troubled by visions

of jabbing beaks and

the fierce beating of wings

in landscapes where

the night is always

cat-shadow black.

33


Craig Dobson

Haunted

A kind darkness covers everything.

When dawn teases another shore

from this blind tide, you’ll wash up

among the wreckage on rocks of light.

Lie here now, invisible to the hidden

edges whose morning will show you

all you’ve done or not done, clear as

household mess. Bless whatever brief

reprieve hides you from their unsparing.

Wait, curled alone in bed, as night dies,

leaving you with your fear of the valid

imaginable day. Desperate for the fading

imperception to stay, first light’ll find you

here, willing and willing the dead to appear.

34


Svetlana Avakumović

Listen, universe echoes

Jump from the Super space

On the super-earth

Where everything is super

Supermarkets

Where people dream

About Superman

Completely superior

Jump from Super space

Only

Jesus Christ is a superstar

and we are super ridiculous.

Without heads,

and no souls,

so superior.

Lost in the darkness, vanity leads to madness.

Listen, universe echoes,

echoes ...

35


Simon Williams

The Narrative Eye

I tell you what I see

and though you can interpret

images,

you can’t argue with what I present.

‘What about hallucinogens’ you say.

I give you that,

but we have never been into

anything stronger than Hobgoblin.

So here’s the thing:

pebble, bunting, wrinkly dog.

I’ll show you every angle

I can capture,

but you must do the 3D scan,

match it up with what you have

in memory,

decide if it’s real or fantasy.

Once you’ve made decisions,

pulled it all

into your bouncy bubble,

I will tell you this:

there are two of us

in constant dialogue with you,

out of focus at best,

bending everything to two, sweet stories.

36


Cecile Bol

user manual page 19: cactus

time will not kill it

it may display brown spots here and there

but it won’t die

in fact it will thrive and prosper

on surprisingly little water

you see, neglecting its nettlesome nature

may result in clumsily reaching past it

for instance to grab an empty mug of tea

only to have you wonder two days later

when your hand unwittingly brushes your jeans

how the hell you got that pin under your skin

no need to kiss it

or to cut off its spines with a knife

be gallant though

don’t fear the prickly returns – ask

what it was you did that made me cry

37


Clive Donovan

The Day I Tried to Sell My Soul to Satan

Was just another grindingly frustrating day.

I laid down the terms:

You can have my soul [whatever that is]

If in return you provide me with

– Draped on that bed right there –

A luscious girl

Dressed perhaps in a short flared skirt

And ankle socks.

I was a sixteen year old virgin

But I knew what I wanted.

I closed my eyes.

When I opened them my bed was still blank.

I was telling all this to Suzie figuring she could use it

Maybe as material for a short story or poem.

Besides, she wanted to know everything about me.

She said:

'Why didn't you just pray to God?'

That stopped me – made me think.

38


David J. Thompson

Drawing the grotesque

I have taken a job modeling

for the Art department

at the local community college.

It’s only part-time and minimum wage,

but all I have to do is drop my robe,

ignore the gasps, and sit there naked

as still as can be. The class is called

Drawing The Grotesque; it meets

on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

39


Robin Ray

Pawn Shop

I’d swallow uncoated pills to

believe you if trust meant

propping a chopped oak

against my back, preventing it

from falling through the detritus.

Palm every bible in a 100 mile

radius; see if that sways me.

What are these shoulders for?

Chances? Carting turnips to

farmers’ markets where

sympathetic eyes scan visible

scars? Heathen, snatch your

suitcase and be gone. All I own

I’ve already pawned.

40


Nick Carding

that year

winter came early

caught us in autumn colours

shivering

murdering

late blooming roses

blood red petals

tumbling tears

to chilled soil

sullen in defeat

came calling

at your open door

awaiting answers

and you

hospitable as ever

invited winter in

took him

in your loving arms

to dance

enchanted him

and when he left

went with him

leaving next spring

when she arrived

dressed all in black

41


Beth Bayley

Dispatch from the Monsoon

Monsoon season sounds terribly dramatic—palm trees bent double in the wind

and lashing rain, the frightened faces of farm animals as the floodwaters bear

them away. But here in this apartment, it just means the bedroom door rattles at

night until we lock it, the clothes whip themselves off the line, and the bag of

empty soda water cans slides across the kitchen floor. In the U.S. right now,

people are freezing—here in Singapore we are just enjoying the breeze.

There are other problems, of course: the eight-meter-long reticulated python (shy

unless provoked) slithering up from the canal that runs under the main shopping

street; coiling itself beneath a bench outside a mall; biting the pest control worker

who tried to put it in a small bag—such a small bag! The pest control company has

no comment, but we all have a new collection of images in our heads: not only the

snake curling around the bench; the ineffectual men; but the canal underneath us,

and all those silent travellers slithering beneath our feet.

42


Betsy Martin

Saving Christmas

December darkness like licorice

could make even sadness

sweet. Red and green

traffic lights blink from wet

pavement as we hurry

to the nursery for a new pot—

our Norfolk Island pine,

houseplant transfigured

by slow-wave chaser lights,

has crashed to the floor.

The nursery is decked with holiday radiance.

A rainbow-hued Buddha ornament

sprinkles the world with iridescence.

A gray wolf stalks

with silver-glitter snow underfoot,

its ruby eyes haunting pinpoints

of red pity that beg,

Let me prey no more.

Wolf and Buddha lie down

together on a sack

of soil and come home

with the pot

to save Christmas.

43


Thank you for reading!

44

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines