What I’m Remembering Right Now
Your fingers made me different,
the gentle probing, the pruning of my hard edges,
the way you wrote code across my skin
when we were young and Lennon lived.
There are nights when I still feel the rim
of your fingernail carving letters down my spine,
a sonnet or something surely lovely.
But the days have out-danced me now.
I’ve become bone instead of flesh,
sour-smelling and slack.
A nurse comes every other hour.
Her hands are rubber-gloved and fastidious.
She’s always seems to be in
such a hurry to leave.
Clinging to Loose Edges
When you called me
the worst thing that ever happened in your life
I should have stepped away,
stepped into the path of an oncoming semi
or leapt off a tall building.
But I lingered instead,
clinging to your loose edges
like an infant in need of suckling.
Your mother called me foolish.
Your Dad laughed till he pissed himself
and your brother spat out a wad of something brown and sticky,
said, “This one’s not recyclable,”
while cocking his head with a wink.
What I keep forgetting
are the false holes we would fall through,
how sometimes I would float as if in quicksand,
a trapped target or piñata,
your face as ripe as eggplant,
telling me I should have been aborted,
should have been tossed in a dumpster
where milquetoasts like me belong.
But it’s May again,
so I take out my phone and call.
Before you even say hello,
I rush in to wish you
Happy Mother’s Day.
The Archer and the Pheasant
Dad is drunk again while
we are looking for ways to molt.
one of us is to hold an apple out at arm’s length
because Dad’s become an archer.
The thing is, he’s not kidding.
Gravity is an issue, so there’s some stumbling
against the kitchen counter, a jar knocked over,
a beer bottle broken.
“Go on,” he says, nudging with the bow.
I pick a watermelon instead,
since he won’t know the difference.
There’s a first miss, and a second miss
that shatters a window over the sink,
spraying shards that nick my ear.
Still, I hold the melon in my palm
like an offering or docile monkey
while thinking about the pheasant I saw in the backyard earlier,
its rust-colored feathers,
the blood-red webbing around its wide eye,
how it cocked its head and seemed to say,
Good for you. You’ve survived so far.
When the arrow finally lands,
guts and seeds and juice splash my chest,
smell of sugar and summer filling the air.
Storm Lake at Night
dogpaddling across the lake,
is a decent friend of mine,
barely disturbing the water,
going his own way like a stubby raft
coasting toward the setting sun.
He hasn’t said a word for days,
leaves the fish alone most times.
He has other things on his mind–
a tree that needs slaying,
a damn that needs mending.
If I asked him why you left me
he’d probably say
it wasn’t even my fault.
***Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State, an editor at the online magazine Literary Orphans, and the author of I’M NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE AND NEITHER ARE YOU out now from Unknown Press. You can also find him atlenkuntz.blogspot.com ***