Potential jurors sip sub-lukewarm coffee and stare
into florescent lights spewing out spoiled milk-white light.
Court officials drift on and off of stools, parroting,
“Everyone check in, otherwise you’ll have to come back
here,” every time they flip through their wrinkled
attendance sheets. Police officers gaze into their shoes
as they stand by the metal detector at the courthouse’s
front door. Nobody looks up when the machine goes off.
Everyone loves Cinderella until she becomes
a queen. She pulls herself up by her bootstraps,
then, after a one-night stand, she sticks on
a glass slipper and gets whisked off her feet.
Then she gets to live her dream, have her
Achilles tendons lathered and massaged. And
the cankles swell along the old widows standing
in the crowds.
Their penises resemble shiitake mushrooms,
but press their tips into their testicle sacs
and they spring up like flowers, full of seed.
Well, how the mighty fall, confessing into a tin can, “I
don’t remember this from years ago, but if it happened
it’s not alright, but it was years ago before I came here,”
as they roll down the Tower of Babel toward shallow
graves lacking topsoil so they won’t asphyxiate.
We hear you loud and clear, boys. No. The women you
looked through and threw yourselves onto said no
to you then, and we say no to you now. You’re about
to crash down and you won’t be dead, not yet. But
we’re clearing out the fog you’ve made with your breath,
so we’ll see you rising if you try this shit again.
An impatient pavilion awaits its decay.
Eight graves on the lip of the former
community lie under weeds and tree trunks
and their tightly donned shade. In the
night, the wind does not pick up;
the day finds everything in its place
as yesterday. Nothing will change today.
You don’t have to speak for me to know your apathy.
Your two-yard stare betrays you, your tracing right
to left across the page and off the page into the
space between my two eyes. Goodbye, you’re conveying,
to these headlines, and they’ll take their leave later
today decreeing, “Until we three meet again.”
At the back of a bar in Cleveland
one Sunday night, a man put down
his beer and told me he couldn’t
believe in the Apocalypse anymore.
His lips were calloused and thin, clinging
to his teeth, the color of jaundice.
They curled into a smile, and dimples
perched themselves off the smile’s tips.
When I asked him why he couldn’t believe
anymore, the dimples sank into his cheeks.