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.

After dessert,

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

The beaver,

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 ***

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