Oracle or pincushion, which did they intend
who fashioned him from a single reed
and a whitening lock of human hair?
The mouth a vicious daub of red,
partially healed and not meant
The ears still green;
buds, perhaps, opening for a syllable
yet to be named,
a hissing song. Whatever it is
the tiny fists have closed on,
they aren’t letting go.
The feet mere stubs fit not even for planting.
At his side the painted blade hangs blue and ready.
What color the eyes, rolled inward forever?
—Published previously in Minetta Review (Fall 2016); appears here with poet’s permission.
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