Nothing happens at first.
Just for emphasis, it happens again.
Then I notice that the lines of my bedroom
are no longer straight but wriggling, alive,
trying to crawl away, everything is alive except
the transistor radio, which has gone
suddenly silent, the music deciding
to come out of a Veteran’s Day poppy instead.
I don’t remember stepping outside
but here I am. The moon has become
a silver sun wreathed with electric ghosts,
the night is breathing, and not in time
with my own breath or my heart.
Two seagulls that are not here
are tearing at the flesh of a giant
morning glory, also imaginary,
yet with a heartbreakingly realistic face
and a mouth making an anguished “O.”
The screams of the birds and the flower
seem to be coming from far away
like the wind that blots out whatever it touches.
A man in a black windbreaker approaches
to say that he is second-shift me
and I can go home now. So I do,
in the blink of a dilated eye, and now
I’m holding the radio to my ear
awaiting further instructions in the endless
spaces between bursts of static.
has poems published in Plume Poetry Journal, The Sun magazine, and London Grip. He won the 2022 Pushcart Prize, the 2021 Eyelands Book Award, and the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest. He has written humor for The New Yorker, The Onion, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. His humor collection, It’s Funny Until Someone Loses an Eye (Then It’s Really Funny) (2017), and his poetry collection, Falling in the Direction of Up (2021), are published by Sagging Meniscus Press. He lives in Portage, Michigan.
The Big Jewel
(Not Affiliated with “Al’s Jiant Jewel Warehouse”): Archived outlet
for literary humor co-founded by Kurt Luchs