Leaving the Dead Season
Naked as the oaks
during the dead season, but this is not
that time. This is spring, and I
search for hues to paint flesh
dark as bark, vibrant as the leaves, soft
as newly opened buds. Don’t pretend
to bathe with the aroma,
honeysuckle climbs limbs,
caresses natural parts
with aide of palms.
Senses become made, skin reddened.
More days will pass
before unripe blackberry hue
descends, mellows in tone, becomes.
Until then, I will stand here
amongst the wild wheat
naked as the oaks
during the dead season.
back arched to form
of the stairs that place her
in front of the mirrored
wall. Fingertips tap tap
tapping sensitive placements,
mass of peach tinted flesh
asking for a song to sing a-
cappella. Strickland’s Floating
soothes the minutes
passing before her like lost limbs
from the willow that stands beside the wetness
of the river, swimming in then
out of sight, but always dripping
with the excessive flow. The dive
becomes complete, the small appendages
of her limb sucked inside,
grasping at the interior depth,
searching for the bottom soil,
the pebbles, the freshly drowned
leaves, something, anything
worth satisfying the clinched
muscles, the urge to come
to the end where she might be held after-
wards. Her eyes have opened
with the flood and the reflection
she sees is no longer hers, but me
considering the concept of holding
someone other than myself.
*Previously published in Divine Animal
Simic Prophesies Repeated History and the Death of One Voice
“I have a kind of Halloween mask which I am afraid to put on”
Fifty years later I still stand
on this corner where I shouldn’t be.
Lights have not returned.
My coat is not needed
in the decreased heat of night.
The dog has answered, sits
by my side, black snout damp
with bodily fluids found from within
a gutted marketplace.
Fear fails. I put on
the Halloween mask to cover
senses. There are no holes for eyes
to see scenes in the darkness
of falling walls.
A lone voice reports from the dust
of successes or small failures
then falters and fades
away. No death, just
the extinguished purpose of life.
Lonely Fish Without Oxygen
fishbowl of jellybeans;
spying all the liquorish
flavored black ones
looking for a beating
heart of red that might
of empty rooms.
*Previously published in Unlikely Stories
Extracting DNA From the Elephant Man
Doctors were hard pressed to help
then and only now can they begin
to understand. Time spent hop-scotching
across the land to reveal the freak,
the hospital across the street from home-
that room that holds the curse, but failed
to keep the boy not ever a man.
Death visited during the evening,
shared promises of afterlife
while consuming biscuits and tea.
Answers may never come
to fulfill needs of those who laughed,
stared , turned their heads, or offered hands.
Forget the shape, the form; remember
that the sideshow was a man.
His name was Joseph. And mine remains
difficult to pronounce for the onlookers. We share
the same path; that quest for leaving the gray
to discover that we were alive
before the needle had to extract our memory
to prove that our form was not contagious.